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Devil dog at 7

By Cpl. Samuel Ellis | Headquarters Marine Corps | June 30, 2014

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Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, presents Andrew Starr II with an honorary Marine certificate on June 30, 2014, at Starr’s home in Springfield, Va. Andrew’s father, retired Marine Col. Andrew Starr, watched as his son, the second recipient of the title this year, received the award.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, presents Andrew Starr II with an honorary Marine certificate on June 30, 2014, at Starr’s home in Springfield, Va. Andrew’s father, retired Marine Col. Andrew Starr, watched as his son, the second recipient of the title this year, received the award. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


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Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, celebrates with Andrew Starr after a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew, having been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, is only the second person to receive the title in 2014.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, celebrates with Andrew Starr after a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew, having been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, is only the second person to receive the title in 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


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Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


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Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, pins an eagle, globe and anchor pin on Andrew Starr’s lapel during a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew is one of less than 100 people to ever receive the title since its conception in 1992. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


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Andrew Starr II, 7, and his father, retired Col. Andrew Starr, celebrate after the boy received the title, “honorary Marine,” at his home in Springfield, Va., on June 30, 2014. Andrew, having suffered with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 since a baby, celebrated with family and friends.

Andrew Starr II, 7, and his father, retired Col. Andrew Starr, celebrate after the boy received the title, “honorary Marine,” at his home in Springfield, Va., on June 30, 2014. Andrew, having suffered with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 since a baby, celebrated with family and friends. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


Photo Details | Download |

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, celebrates with Andrew Starr after a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew, having been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, is only the second person to receive the title in 2014.

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, celebrates with Andrew Starr after a ceremony awarding Starr the title “honorary Marine.” Seven-year-old Andrew, having been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, is only the second person to receive the title in 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Samuel Ellis)


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OFFICE OF MARINE CORPS COMMUNICATION ARLINGTON, Va. --

He has two dreams. The first is to be like his father, a retired Marine colonel, whom he adores. It only makes sense that his second dream is to become a Marine, the next in a family that has a blood stripe stretching back all the way to a great grandfather who fought in World War I.

Unfortunately, his second dream seemed unattainable due to a chronic illness preventing his future service. Little did he know his second dream would come true before entering middle school.

Seven-year-old Andrew Starr II received the title of “Honorary Marine” at his home in Springfield, Va., on June 30, at the hands of Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps.

“I have always wanted to be a Marine,” Andrew said.

At nine months old, Andrew was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1, a disorder that causes tumors and can leave nerve damage. Andrew has suffered with four brain tumors, one of which required him to undergo chemotherapy treatments.

“He has to learn differently than other children,” his parents, Andrew and Stacy Starr said. “But he has never looked at this negatively. Andrew believes he can do anything.”

“Even though he is going through this painful ordeal, he is not focused on himself,” Padilla said. “He is a gregarious young man who is very focused on others and the needs of others.”

Andrew’s attitude and selfless focus were two reasons Padilla, a long-time friend of Andrew’s father, endorsed an honorary Marine package that had been previously submitted for the young man.

“I was taken with the situation, and these folks don’t come any better,” Padilla said. “I wanted to do something to help with getting him recognized and trying to make one of his dreams come true.”

Receiving the honorary title of “Marine” isn’t easy, and the process by which it’s awarded is a lengthy one.

For Andrew, it took more than nine months.

“I’m just so happy,” Andrew said. “I’m a Marine like my dad.”

An honorary Marine nomination can only be submitted by commanding generals, commanding officers and officers-in-charge before being endorsed by a general officer and then officially designated by the commandant of the Marine Corps.

“Headquarters Marine Corps does not just give these honorary titles out,” Padilla said.

According to Marine Corps Order 5060.19B, the title of honorary Marine is not given solely as an expression of appreciation nor in recognition of official or contracted duties, but is awarded to recipients who must meet specific conditions.

Andrew is one of less than 100 people to have received the title since the inception of the title in 1992. He is the second to receive it in 2014.

“Even if they’re a young kid like Andrew Starr, honorary Marines contribute by just being an example of perseverance, having a positive attitude and outlook, how you carry yourself and the example you set for others,” Padilla said.

“As a mom, it makes me proud that Maj. Gen. Padilla and Col. Forrester worked to accomplish this task and fought for a child,” Stacy Starr said. “And for me the legacy continues on for our family.”

Andrew will continue to live a full life, hating vegetables and creating adventures with his favorite Star Wars characters while aspiring to be like his greatest hero − his dad.

Only now, he will do it as a Marine.



24 Comments


  • Wendy Schollian 22 days ago
    My son and I also have Neurofibromatosis. My husband proudly served 10 years in the Marine Corp. To read this makes me happy.
  • John Floyd, Capt USMC (Ret) 24 days ago
    Congratulations on having your courage and persistence recognized. You're an example of the kind of courage and commitment that a lot of folks would do well to follow. Semper Fi!
  • IVAN QUINONES 25 days ago
    AS A FORMER MARINE I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, DEVIL DOG.
  • IVAN QUINONES 25 days ago
    AS A FORMER MARINE I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, DEVIL DOG.
  • rigger24 26 days ago
    Semper Fi Marine
  • L/CPL CHRISTOPHER PRITCHARD U.S.M.C. VET 83-86 26 days ago
    WELCOME ABOARD YOUNG DEVIL DOG....
  • Douglas Millar 26 days ago
    As Andrew gets older, he will better understand the honor of being an Honorary Marine. But for right now, this link with his Dad is enough. What a great kid!
  • Ron Bacon 26 days ago
    Very nice. Do they have a Young Marines program near where they live?
  • Ron Bacon 26 days ago
    Very nice.... Do they have a local Young Marines program near where they live?
  • Troy Chastain Sgt. 1986-1992 26 days ago
    Semper Fidelis Marine!
  • Cindy 26 days ago
    I think that is wonderful! I was born with Nf1 myself...inherited from my Mom. I have had many struggles in life but managed a college education and a current 27 year marriage and a Mom of 3. 2 of my boys have NF but so far have suffered no setbacks! Most of mine have came in my later life but I am holing strong and will not let it defeat me. Thanks for people in the Marines for helping this boy!
  • GySgt M Sosa Ret 27 days ago
    Semper-Fi Devil dog
    Keep on keeping on
  • Thomas Robinson 27 days ago
    I Have Always Been Proud To Have The Title Of USMC And To Have Served As One, But Now After reading This Story....There Are No Words! May He Carry The Name Marine For A Very Long Time! Semper Fi Andrew!
  • Ron Querry 27 days ago
    Semper Fi! Andrew . . . You do us proud!
  • Ron Querry 27 days ago
    Semper Fi! Andrew . . . You do us proud!
  • Ron Querry 27 days ago
    Semper Fi! Andrew . . . You do us proud!
  • debbie witkowski 27 days ago
    Semper Fi little guy...congratulations, you are and inpiration.....
  • Matthew leete 27 days ago
    SEMPER FI, Welcome to the family.
  • Matthew leete 27 days ago
    SEMPER FI, Welcome to the family.
  • Rebecca Scott 27 days ago
    Now, that is how it's done! Well done, and great story! Thank you!
  • Colleen Higgins Smith 27 days ago
    How cool is that...really touched my heart!!Congrats Andrew, and to the PROUD Parents!!!!
  • Alecia 27 days ago
    Congratulations to you Andrew, Semper Fi Marine!!!
  • Jack Spencer 27 days ago
    Welcome to the family Brother. Semper Fi.
  • mason 27 days ago
    it is good to be a marine like your dad

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