WASHINGTON (7News) — When you visit the National Museum of the United Marine Corps, just outside the Quantico Marine Base, you find a treasure trove of historical artifacts and exhibits explaining all the Marines have done to preserve the freedoms, we all enjoy.
While it is wonderful to see and read about the battles and sacrifices, it’s a real treat to hear from a man who has fought in three wars as a Marine.
One hundred-year-old retired Major Jack Elliot signed on to the Marines in 1942 after the start of World War II. He was 17 at the time, and his job would be to equip the Dauntless, a Navy dive bomber with the bombs.
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“I remember Guadalcanal and American Samoa, and the Philippines," said Major Elliot.
Now all these years later, you can find Major Elliott working as a Docent at the National Museum of the United Marine Corps. He loves spending time with people who want to learn more about the Marine Corps.
“I’ve lived it, I’m the only historian and I use that term loosely, but I’m the only one around that knows any of the people that were in World War I, and World War II," he said.
Major Elliot served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and after serving for more than 30 years he retired, but he never quit the Marines. He was here before this museum even opened and has been here ever since sharing stories from his life of service. Gwenn Adams, who is the Public Affairs Chief, said it is an honor to have a staff of knowledgeable docents, but a real treat to have Major Elliott still doing it at 100 years old.
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“That’s one of the most important things this museum offers from all of our docents, especially Jack who has been there and done that from three wars because you can look at artifacts and read labels, but when you are hearing that history firsthand from the Marines that have been there, there is no better experience," said Adams.
She even said that Major Elliot tells her he’s technically the oldest artifact in the place. 7News asked him if he’s ever thought about retiring. He just gave us a wry smile and said, “This is my home away from home as far as I’m concerned. I love it.”