U.S. Navy sailors at Los Angeles International Airport. It took the U.S. government nearly 40 years to recover the wreckage of the E-1B Tracer aircraft that crashed, killing Guerra in 1967. (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

As kids, Ruben and Raul thought they had life all figured out.

They would grow up and live minutes from each other, be best men in each other's weddings, godfathers to each other's children. They would sit side by side at Dodger Stadium, two old men in a sea of blue.

The friends never imagined that after high school both would be sent to Vietnam — but only one would return.

The loss was so painful that for 40 years Ruben Valencia could hardly bring himself to say Raul Guerra's name.

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The casket of Marine Private First Class Robert Graham is carried into St.Elizabeth Ann Seton Church by members of the New York City Police Department on Friday, April 26, 2019 in Shrub Oak, NY. (AP Photo/Allyse Pulliam)

Last week, hundreds of people gathered in Shrub Oak, New York to attend the funeral of Robert Graham, a 97-year-old veteran who served in the Pacific as a Marine Raider during World War II. The attendees came from all across the state, many were veterans themselves, and few if any of them had ever met Graham.

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Are you considering joining the Marine Forces Reserve? Perhaps you're getting off active duty and you think the Reserve will make for a smoother transition into civilian life. That might be true, but MFR is currently facing a major recruitment problem and with good reason. And I, a Marine veteran and former reservist, want to make sure that you have full warning of the downfalls before you make the jump into the elite weekend-warriors.

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Photo courtesy of Everett Evans

After 46-year-old Marine Corps veteran Everett Evans lost his home to the Erskine wildfire that raged across 50,000 acres in central California last summer, he was devastated. But now, he’s doing everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen to his small Kern River Valley community again.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard

The few, the proud, the Marines: custodians of a proud martial tradition dating back to Nov. 10, 1775. So it might surprise you to know that the Marine Corps doesn’t know why its motto is Semper Fidelis. The iconic phrase, Latin for “always faithful,” has captured the spirit of Marines, past, present, and future, since the 1880s. But the reasoning behind its selection is still unknown.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Elize McKelvey

Marines take pride in our heritage. Every Marine knows the Corps’ motto: Semper Fidelis, and we’re all quick to correct someone when they call us soldiers or sailors.

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