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    Continuing the Legacy



    Story by Cpl. Yamil Casarreal 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island           

    “During the crucible, I always had a picture of my great-grandfather holding the flags him and the soldiers in his unit signed during World War II” Tristan Altenbach said, “It was my main motivation to make it through training.”
    Altenbach graduated Marine Corps recruit training on Parris Island on Aug. 30, 2019. On that same day, he saw the flags that his great-grandfather had signed with his soldiers at the end of World War II. The flags had been stored away since 1988 in the U.S. Center of Military History, Washington D.C.
    Altenbach’s great-grandfather, Paul Altenbach Sr., served in the Army with Company B, 38th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division during World War II. He received the Bronze Star Medal for assisting in rescuing wounded soldiers while under sniper fire in France.
    Towards the end of the war, Altenbach Sr. and the soldiers of his unit signed two flags. These flags were later donated to his family to honor his service.
    In 1988, the Altenbach family donated the flag to the U.S. Center of Military History to commemorate Paul Altenbach Sr’s. service. When Tristan Altenbach entered recruit training, the family contacted the U.S. Army Center of Military History and requested the flags to be temporarily moved to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for Tristan’s graduation.
    The flags were approved to be moved to Parris Island’s museum. Once Tristan’s father heard the news that his son was going to do the crucible, the culminating event of recruit training, he mailed photos of the two flags to motivate Tristan.
    “Once I received the photos, I put it in my pack while I was doing the crucible” said Tristan, “I know my great-grandfather was watching over me and I knew I had to make it.”
    Tristan completed the crucible and was scheduled to graduate on time. Him and his family were excited to see the flags that haven’t been seen in over 30 years.
    After graduating as a Marine, Tristan and his family headed to the Parris Island History museum to see the flags unveil. This is the first time Tristan will lay eyes on a piece of history that his great-grandfather took part in.
    The family was overwhelmed with emotion when seeing Paul Altenbach Sr’s. signature on both flags.
    “I know from above he is watching me, and he is proud of me continuing the legacy” said Tristan.
    “But this time I’m going with the better branch” Tristan said jokingly.



    Date Taken: 08.30.2019
    Date Posted: 09.01.2019 09:05
    Story ID: 338087
    Location: PARRIS ISLAND, SC, US 

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