Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Every time a young man or woman completes the US Marine Corps basic training, it’s a cause to celebrate. Most are surrounded by family and friends and there’s a celebration of the accomplishment some say is one of the most difficult in the world. The Corps prompts the young Marines to come back to their home communities and visit their former school wearing their full uniform with pride. Just the look of these proud and fit young Marines is a powerful recruiting tool.
Last week, while two Marines, just 18 and 19 years old, were visiting their recruiters in Lexington to help with PT, the pair of Marines from Lexington County had an opportunity to show their skills and training in a way neither had expected. PFC Noah Jordan of Lexington and PFC Caleb Montgomery of Irmo helped the Lexington Police Department catch a suspect who had just committed a crime at Best Buy. That store is located in the same shopping plaza as the recruiting substation.
According to the Recruiting Office’s Facebook page, the two had just pulled up to the substation. As they were going in, they heard a commotion across the parking lot at the local Best Buy. According to the Marine Recruiters social media page, 19-year-old Montgomery of Irmo said, “We could just hear yelling at first, and we looked over and saw the police chasing after a suspect fleeing from the Best Buy,” The suspect had been attempting to use a fraudulent credit card and fled the scene on foot. The new Marines immediately assessed the situation and swung into action. “I looked at Montgomery and said, “'We’re going to do this', then ran,” said Jordan, 18, from Lexington.
The pair took off in the direction of the suspect, running straight for him and cutting off his escape route. “The suspect tripped over himself when we ran up to him, and then when he looked up at two Marines blocking his path, he gave up trying to get away,” explained Montgomery.
Patrolman First Class William Norris of the Lexington Police Department said with a smile, “In my years as a police officer, I have only seen it a couple times where a bystander has intervened to help the police. Typically, people will stand by and pull out their phones to record the encounter, so it felt really motivating to see somebody actually take action and help us catch them.”
The pair attributed their decisiveness to training from their drill instructors at Parris Island and their local recruiters at Marine Corps Recruiting Substation Lexington. “It was definitely a positive surprise when the police came up to the station after the incident to tell us what these young men had done,” explained Staff Sgt. Ty Fletcher, the staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge of Recruiting Substation Lexington. “We spend a lot of time teaching these young men and women the core values of the Marine Corps, so when we get to see them come back from boot camp and put those values into action, it is highly rewarding for us as recruiters.”
According to social media, on October 31st, representatives from the Lexington Police Department came to Marine Recruiting Substation Lexington to present the two Marines with a letter of appreciation for their part in stopping the fleeing suspect. Then, they all posed for photos together. The two young Marines’ smiles lit up the room!
Once Montgomery and Jordan finish their 10 days of leave at home, they will report to the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. They’ll then attend formal schooling for their military occupational specialties.