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    Passing the Tradition Generation to Generation

    Passing the Tradition Generation to Generation

    Photo By Cpl. Nicolas Atehortua | U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Connor Lillie, an intelligence specialist with 1st Intelligence...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Nicolas Atehortua 

    I MEF Information Group

    CAMP PENDLETON, CALIFORNIA --- Traditions are something the Marine Corps is known for and they pass from Marine to Marine. These traditions can even become part of a family tradition like it has for Cpl. Connor Lillie, an intelligence specialist currently with 1st Intelligence Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, where his family has a tradition passed down through three generations.

    Connor enlisted from Recruiting Station Carlisle, Pennsylvania after graduating from Red Land High School in 2019 where he continued the family legacy of the Marine Corps.

    What was first a gift soon became a family tradition. Cpl. Connor’s grandfather, Leroy Lillie, was gifted the noncommissioned officer sword when he was a 1st Sgt. from his wife and fellow Marines in 1988 in Rota, Spain. He carried the sword throughout his career and used it as an ornament in his work spaces as a symbol of pride and joy of being a Marine. Connor is the 3rd recipient of his family tradition to receive the non-commissioned officer sword when a family member has earned the rank of corporal. Becoming a corporal is becoming an NCO, signifying increased responsibilities as a leader. As an NCO they hold all the history of the leaders before them and must be ready to develop the Marines under them into exceptional leaders.

    His father, Ret. Sgt. Maj. Michael Lillie, enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1993 serving as an artillery fire direction Marine holding the billets of Operations Chief and Mortars Platoon Sergeant. His dad retired in 2015 at Recruiting Station Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

    “My dad was in artillery. He was a gunny while in Iraq and was in a mortars platoon,” said Connor. “He’s done a lot of awesome things in his time and is a big inspiration for me.”

    His grandfather, Ret. Sgt. Maj. Leroy Lillie, enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1967 as a KG/13 Teletype Technician, and ended his career at Recruiting Station Portland, Pennsylvania in1994.

    Leroy gifted the sword to his son Michael once he was promoted to the rank of corporal. While in Michael’s possession the sword deployed to Iraq and has served in over a hundred funeral details, parades, Marine Corps Ball’s, and post and relief ceremonies throughout his career.

    When Connor was promoted to corporal his father passed the sword down to him which at this time was forty-three years old with twenty-five years of active service. Connor then became the third generation in his family to carry on the traditions as an NCO.

    “It felt really awesome to hold it,” said Connor. “The feeling was like wow! All the history and traditions of the Marine Corps was in my hands. This sword has been passed down for three generations. I just feel like now it’s my time to maintain this sword and keep it ready for future endeavors.”



    Date Taken: 12.02.2021
    Date Posted: 01.07.2022 18:42
    Story ID: 411724
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

    Web Views: 87
    Downloads: 1