Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
For over 100 years, Americans have celebrated Father’s Day on the third Sunday of June. In these celebrations, it is recognized that fatherhood takes many forms, from the biological sense to that of the father figure. For any father, the challenges that come with being a mentor and role model warrant a day of celebration, and every family has their own traditions and ways of celebrating the occasion.
The Marine Corps survives by passing its ethos, traditions, and morals from generation to generation. For the Lepera family, the tradition of serving has continued through several generations.
“I love being a Marine, it’s one of the highest achievements… to benefit myself and to serve my country. I am the first Marine in my family,” said Lance Cpl. Tony Lepera, an administrative specialist with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Tony’s father served for six years in the United States Army as an artilleryman. His father’s military service inspired him to enlist in the Marine Corps to continue their family tradition of serving the nation. The lessons passed on to Lepera from his father’s military career motivated and prepared him for the challenges he faced during his journey toward earning the title of United States Marine.
“My dad and I are very competitive. I joined the Marines as a way of competing with him, to try and one up him,” said Lepera.
With multiple relatives answering the call of duty over the years, Lepera takes immense pride in his family’s name. Much like Lepera, his father was inspired to enlist by the service of other family members, continuing a tradition that he would later pass down to his son.
“My dad joined the Army because my great uncle was a Korean War POW veteran,” said Lepera. “At first he wasn’t overly supportive when I was joining the Marine Corps, but now he wants me to re-enlist.”
A typical Father’s Day for the Lepera household in Massachusetts would involve the family coming together to BBQ and celebrating. With Lepera stationed aboard Camp Pendleton, he will unfortunately miss out on this year’s celebration. Although he is unable to attend in person, he will be there in spirit and plans to call his father to extend his love and gratitude to the man who made him the Marine he is today.
“My dad inspired me to join. He inspires me to keep pushing every day, and I appreciate that he does that for me. Happy Father’s Day,” said Lepera.
The Marine Corps is enriched through the preservation of its traditions. Lessons in Honor, Courage, and Commitment are continuously taught to ensure Marines uphold the standards of a Marine. Much as a father guides his son and instills core values, senior leaders teach their junior Marines these important lessons.
To all the Marine Corps fathers and father figures, happy Father’s Day.