There’s an old saying among members of the Corps;
Marines have a soft-spot for kids and dogs.
Possibly best exemplifying such would be the examples set by the Secretary of State Gen. James “Chaos” Mattis, USMC (Retired), and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, USMC.
The duo greeted North Carolinian Cooper Smith, 16, to the Pentagon, making his wish come true to visit the headquarters of the American armed forces.
This morning, #SecDef Mattis, @thejointstaff chairman #GenDunford & @USArmy Sgt. Maj. John Troxell welcomed Cooper Smith and his family to the #Pentagon. We’re happy to work with @MakeAWish to make Cooper’s wish come true. #KnowYourMil pic.twitter.com/WlASV16f5Y
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) April 2, 2018
In a press release from the Department of Defense;
“The people I met were fantastic and seemed to really care about the country,” Smith said. “I wanted to see how the Pentagon works and see how each single factor plays into each other. I thought things would be more independent, but I saw how each [service branch] relies on each other.”
His admiration for the military comes from his recognition of the service and sacrifice of the nation’s men and women in uniform, he said.
Even though young Cooper wouldn’t be medically qualified to serve once he becomes of age, he’s making his own quiet heroism felt back home (emphasis mine);
He volunteers at several organizations in North Carolina, including the Ronald McDonald House and Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, and he initiated a project that secures used books, toys, and games for a school in near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a high percentage of students from low-income families. He donated bags of books and games to begin the initiative, and so far, the project has accumulated several truckloads of donations to help the school.
According to the National Institute of Health’s official website, Smith lives with “Neurofibromatosis type 1 [which] is a condition characterized by changes in skin coloring (pigmentation) and the growth of tumors along nerves in the skin, brain, and other parts of the body.”