Local veteran explains meaning of Marine Corps 242nd birthday through service

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On Friday, it's the 242nd Marine Corps birthday.

Gunnery Sergeant Marcuss Hernandez of Galt served 20 years in the Marine Corps before retiring a few months ago.

"We lived the hard life," Hernandez. "Believe it or not, I miss it. It's a different aspect of me being out now and looking back at what I've done." 

Hernandez got emotional talking about a deployment in 2006. 

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"My best friend who replaced me was killed four months later, which was 10 years today," Hernandez said. "It takes me back. Did I do enough? What could I have done better? That's the battle I fight."

For him, Veterans Day means showing gratitude to the people who aren't here to celebrate their life. 

He also explained the importance of the Marine Corps Birthday.

"Every year each unit has the Marine Corps Ball," Hernandez said. "It's really about tradition and 242 years of tradition is passed on to the oldest and youngest marine. It represents passing on the knowledge to that next generation."

Today, as a veteran, Hernandez is spending a lot of time with his two boys and wife and going back to school. He's also busy searching for jobs.

In his spare time, he's in organizations and programs such as Ranger Road and Reset Health, which are helping veterans reintegrate back into society.

"You may never know if you may help someone else," Hernandez said. "We have a saying in that group, that together we're strong and it's really -- it's true. Now that I call myself a vet, it's really what you do beyond while you're in because I'm honoring those guys who aren't here anymore."