Jason Marquart, United States Army, was just promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. What makes that so special — besides the 25 years of exceptional service to his country — is the fact that his grandfather, a Korean War veteran who served in the Marine Coprs, was the one who pinned the new officer insignia onto Marquart’s uniform.
That was no easy task, since Lt. Col. Marquart is stationed in Hawaii and his grandfather lives in Kansas. But the soldier never had any doubts who he wanted at his promotion ceremony, so he flew to Wichita, Kansas, bringing his commanding officer and her husband with him.
“My grandfather is my male role model in my life, and he’s the only one I’ve had,” Marquart told The Wichita Eagle.
So while his commanding officer, Col. Judith Dickert, performed the official promotion ceremony in front of the Korean War Memorial in Witcha’s Veterans Memorial Park, 84-year-old Marvin Keeler pinned the lieutenant colonel insignia on his grandson.
Joining the Army when he graduated from high school in the early 1990s at the age of 17, Marquart served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2013. Keeler served as a Marine in Korea from 1951 to 1954.
Growing up as the son of a single mother, Marquart said his grandfather has always been his role model.
Marquart is now stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, where he serves as a nurse practitioner in an administrative role.
“He’s an amazing man,” said Lisa Bockter, Marquart’s mother. “I’m glad he’s mine.”
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“I don’t think many people would spend thousands of dollars to fly someone in just so their grandpa could be involved,” said Monica Keeler, Marvin Keeler’s wife.
As for Keeler, he was just proud of his grandson’s service and accomplishment and “kind of humble” that Marquart made such an effort to include him.
“As a Korean War vet, a Marine Corps Korean War vet, he deserves as much recognition for his service as I do for any service that I do,” Marquart said.
Watch the promotion ceremony in the amazing video below!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.