Sergeant Major's son joins the Marine Corps

Lance Cpl. Lawrence A. Liechty

San Diego -- Every recruit has his own personal reason for joining the Marine Corps. For one recruit, it was to continue his father's legacy.

Lance Cpl. Lawrence A. Liechty, Platoon 2127, Fox Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, knew he had large shoes to fill when he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

"My father is the sergeant major of Recruiting Station San Francisco," said Liechty. "I want to take what he has taught me throughout my childhood and apply it to my time in the Marine Corps."

Growing up in a typical military family, he never had the opportunity to grow roots in one place. He regularly moved around the world with his family when his father changed duty stations.

"I have lived in Japan, Florida, Virginia, Texas and many other places," said 19-year-old Liechty. "It wasn't easy moving around so much, but it taught me how to let go of things quickly."

For much of his life, Liechty was alone with his mother and younger sister, as his dad deployed and held special duty assignments quite frequently.

He explained that even though his father was not around all of the time, he still had a tremendous impact on his life.

"My father taught me a lot of things while I was growing up," said Liechty, a native of Fairfield, Calif. "He taught me to stand out and be better than average and also to keep pushing when I get knocked down or discouraged."

His father, Sgt. Maj. Larry Leichty, joined the Marine Corps in 1992, and during his career, he was a drill instructor as well as a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor. The younger Liechty believed that those two positions require more discipline than most. He explained that watching his father accomplish so much is where most of his drive and determination began building inside of himself.

Liechty went to high school at Quantico High School in Quantico, Va.,  where he participated in several extracurricular activities.

"I was a part of the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and on the football team throughout all of high school," said Liechty.

While participating in the MCJROTC program, he attained the rank of first sergeant and led other students during color guard and drill exhibitions around the state.

In 2010, he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and in 2012, he tore his left one.

"I didn't think that I would be able to join the Marine Corps after my injuries. People kept telling me that it was impossible, but that made me want it more," said Liechty. "I knew what I had to do to pursue my goal."

After months of rehabilitation and physical therapy, Liechty began to feel better and started running and working out to strengthen himself.

"My father once told me that great men fall and stand up, but greater men stand up and keep going. That was what pushed me to get better and prove to everyone that they were wrong," said Liechty.

After graduating high school in 2013, Leichty was accepted into the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program in January of 2014, and left for recruit training in March.

While in recruit training, Liechty proved himself to not only his peers but also his drill instructors when he graduated as the company honor man, which is the most outstanding recruit in the company.

"I came to recruit training with the mindset that I needed to fill my dad's shoes," said Liechty. "He used to be a drill instructor here. Some Marines here knew him, and that was something I wasn't going to forget. I was representing my family name."

Liechty also received motivation from his two uncles and his grandfather, all who served in the armed forces.

During recruit training, his drill instructors described him as hard working, determined and a great leader.

"When he first arrived at recruit training he was shy," said Sgt. Benjamin A. Shangraw, senior drill instructor. "As recruit training played out, I could tell that he really grew as a leader and did an outstanding job as guide."

Meritoriously promoted to lance corporal, Liechty will move on to Marine Combat Training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then on to his military occupational specialty school as a logistics specialist. He plans on spending as much time as he can in the Marine Corps and eventually attaining the same rank as his father.

"I want to do as many things as I can while I am in the Marine Corps," said Liechty. "I am going to take everything my father taught me while I was growing up and see what I can do with it."

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