View Full Version : Young Marine keeps the family legacy alive

01-22-04, 07:59 AM
Young Marine keeps the family legacy alive
January 21,2004

It's not the third time that's the charm - it's the fourth. At least it is for Edgar Huff III.

The Camp Johnson Young Marine sergeant major was recently named Young Marine of the Year for the youth organization's 3rd Division, which covers Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama. The selection includes a $1,000 scholarship and means that Huff is now under consideration as national Young Marine of the Year, which will be awarded at the national conference April 28 to May 2.

While Huff has represented the Camp Johnson Unit for the last four years, this is the first year he's been in the running for the overall top spot.

And he's confident he can claim it.

"I think I'll win. I do," said the Swansboro High School junior, who credits his leadership and after-school involvement as deciding factors. "I sometimes have that cockiness, saying 'I'm the best; there's nobody better.'"

But according to his commanding officer, retired Sgt. Maj. Cliff Hill, Huff's not being cocky - just honest.

"He is probably the most outstanding Young Marine in the regiment," said Hill. "Our staff, we would put him up against some real, live Marines. He's good. He's just good.

"I hate to use a cliché, but when he's assigned a task, he just takes the bull by the horns and goes," added Hill. "You don't have to follow around behind him."

That sort of initiative, he said, is what will propel Huff to the front of the pack.

"I'll tell you, if he gets beat out, the individual who beats him better walk on water and not disturb the fish," said Hill. "I think his chances are pretty good, really. In fact, it would even be better if he was there in person."

But the national selection, like that at the division, is based solely on the Young Marine's record book - Huff's looks like the Onslow County phone directory.

Huff joined the Young Marines, a youth education and service program for boys and girls ages 8 to 18, when he was 11. After moving through the ranks, he was promoted to sergeant major (making him the ranking Young Marine in the regimental command) in July 2003 - nearly 48 years after his grandfather, the legendary Edgar R. Huff, became one of the first black men to earn that rank in the Corps.

"I know I have something to live up to, but I gotta fill my own shoes first," said Huff of the accomplishments of his grandfather, who died when the younger Huff was 7. "It gives me a lot of motivation."

The 16 year old, however, seems to already have motivation to spare.

Besides Young Marines, Huff plays baseball and football for the Swansboro Pirates; he's active in his church, The Door Christian Fellowship; and he's a member of his school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Library Club and Interact Club, of which he's treasurer.

For the future, he's thought about an appointment to the Naval Academy or maybe a good college where he can play baseball (he has an eye on UNCW and N.C. State, which also offers ROTC). At one point, he thought about a career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, then considered one with the Central Intelligence Agency. Now he's thinking the Judge Advocate General's Corps - on the Marine side, of course.

"I believe that kid will go military," said Huff's mom, Brenda. "He's not doing it because his grandpa is there. He's doing it for himself. He's got goals."

Brenda and Huff's brother Jerome, also a Camp Johnson Young Marine, were on hand to watch him receive his award. Dad, Edgar Huff Jr. is an LPN at Duplin General Hospital and had to work that night.

"He was so happy. (He told Edgar) 'If your grandpa was alive, he'd be so proud of you,'" said Brenda of her husband's reaction to the award. "It's so amazing. God just blessed us with the kids we've got."

Before the Young Marines' weekly meeting began, Hill called Huff to the front of the unit and presented him with his certificate and the Silver Palm.

"One more step, huh," said Hill as Huff prepared to return to his seat.

The young man stopped and turned back to Hill.

"Oohrah," Huff replied.

The Camp Johnson Young Marines are currently recruiting for Boot Camp, which will begin Saturday. Boys and girls ages 8 to 18 are eligible. Register at Bldg. M-202 aboard Camp Johnson Thursday between 6 to 8:30 p.m. or at 9 a.m. Saturday. A $20 registration fee covers insurance and administration costs. For information, call 347-2944 or visit www.ncyoungmarines.org.


The Drifter