Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Twenty-two years of service, a faithful marriage, seven deployments and a little time on recruiting duty are only a few of the things one Ohio Marine with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, accomplished before he retired.
A retirement ceremony for Gunnery Sgt. John M. Neatherton, a Xenia, Ohio native was March 28. His two sons, wife, family, friends and fellow Marines attended the ceremony to see Neatherton off and wish him luck in his future endeavors in life.
After retiring Neatherton now has plans of moving to Florida to follow his hobby of being a diver.
The moment really sank in for Neatherton, the environmental compliance officer for the unit, when he got up to give his speech and say goodbye to his fellow Marines, thanking everyone for being there for him all these years.
“I think it’s really starting to sink in now,” said Neatherton, looking at his two boys. “Boys, daddy is coming home. I know you’re getting older and I have missed a lot, but I’m done.”
The Marines he worked with were mentioned in his speech and how they were the ones that kept him there for so long.
“Marines, I thank you for throwing this ceremony for me, as does my family,” said Neatherton. “I have stayed at (2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion) because of the can-do attitude and desire for mission accomplishment that you have had all these years. That’s what always drew me back to keep me here.”
One of the Marines who attended Neatherton’s ceremony was retired Staff Sgt. Roland Wingo.
Wingo was Neatherton’s section leader when he first came to 2nd AA Bn. He recalled Neatherton being a lance corporal at the time and attended his retirement ceremony. Now, Wingo was attending his.
“I’m extremely proud of him for accomplishing so much in his career,” said Wingo. “It’s not too often when a Marine retires that he comes back to see one of his junior Marines retiring after 22 years from the same unit. I’m glad I’m still around to come to this ceremony, because I couldn’t be more excited for him, and it means a lot to me to see him surpass me in rank and turn out to be the gunny he is.”
After the retirement ceremony ended, all the Marines expressed to Neatherton how he would be missed, and they gave him his going away presents, consisting of a handmade wooden footlocker, a T-shirt and a placard with his name inscribed on it.
“It’s always bittersweet to see a Marine retire,” said Wingo. “He is a great Marine, and I’m sure he has made a standing impression on the Marines he was in charge of, but at the same time, I’m sure his family is glad to finally have him home.”