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Sick 7-year-old granted wish: He’s ‘Honorary Marine’

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Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.”

Andrew Starr II has been plagued by painful tumors since he was a baby but “believes he can do anything,” his parents tell Headquarters Marine Corps.

Andrew’s greatest hero is his father, a retired Marine colonel, part of a proud family tradition that goes back to the First World War. The 7-year-old wanted one thing: to be a Marine.

A friend of the family, Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, has helped a dream come true for “a gregarious young man who is very focused on … the needs of others.”

Under rare and specific conditions, the Marine Corps will award the honorary title of Marine to recognize “individuals in the civilian community who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps.” The nomination must be submitted by commanders, endorsed by a general officer and officially designated by the commandant of the Marine Corps. Fewer than 100 titles have been bestowed since 1992.

On Monday, Padilla conferred the title on Andrew at the Starrs’ home in Springfield, Va.

“I’m just so happy,” Andrew said. “I’m a Marine like my dad.”

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