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Marine Carries Family Legacy, Joins NCO Ranks

CHERRY POINT, N.C. - When Cpl. Robert Robles earned the rank of a noncommissioned officer Aug. 1, his promoting officer could not have been more proud. 

Not only was it Lt. Col. Ernest Henderson’s last day in the Marine Corps after 31 years of service, but his final duty as a Marine was to promote his nephew to corporal.

“It’s awesome that I was able to come out to do this,” said Henderson. “When I look back as a retired Marine, this is going to be my last official duty. It’s just a huge honor that I got to do this for my nephew because he is a good kid and a good Marine.”

Robles’ mother, Marlana, a retired master sergeant, stood proud with several family members who also earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, turning the ceremony into a Marine-themed family reunion.

“When we all want to get together we don’t have family reunions, we just hold formations,” joked Marlana.

Robles’ cousins, aunts and uncles, who all have or are currently serving in the Marine Corps, flooded the Roadhouse at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to watch a beloved family member receive his new rank.

Robles, a Twentynine Palms, Calif., native, joined the Marine Corps in July 2012 at age 28, following in the footsteps of his sister, a former sergeant; his father, a retired master gunnery sergeant; and his mother. 

“I remember telling him, ‘If you want to join the Marine Corps you need to do it now because you’re getting old,’” said Marlana. “As a former drill instructor, I knew he had to join at 28 because you can turn 29 at boot camp, but you can’t be 29 when you join.”

The history of Marines in the Robles family started during the 1950s with Marlana’s parents, she said. Following suit, Marlana; her sister, a retired gunnery sergeant; and her brother, Henderson, joined the Marine Corps. All influenced the current generation of Robles Marines. 

“Another joke we have recurring in our family is that instead of handing out birth certificates, we just hand out enlistment packages,” said Marlana. “But anyway, this day is a really proud day for us. Nothing would have stopped me from seeing my son being promoted.”

After the promotion ceremony, Robles was congratulated by family members and peers.

“It meant a lot to me to have my family here as well as having my uncle promote me before retiring,” said Robles, a military policeman with Cherry Point’s Provost Marshals Office. “It was cool knowing that my promotion ceremony was going to be my platoon at first and then started turning into a whole family reunion. I can see my family continuing to dawn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in the years to come.”

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