MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., June 27, 2016 — A father-son Marine Corps duo serving here spent Father’s Day together this year.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Tyson, chief staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Forces Reserve environmental services division, joined the Marine Corps March 9, 1987. He got out for two years in 2000, then rejoined and is currently serving his last enlistment culminating his 30 years in the Marine Corps.
Tyson’s son, Sgt. Stephen A. Tyson, a squad leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, spent Father’s Day with his dad here June 19 before the next evolution of the Integrated Training Exercise 4-16 kicks off.
Family Military Tradition
The military has been a part of both of the Marines’ lives early on, they said, and has had a great influence in their decisions to join the Marine Corps.
“Ever since I was 9 years old, that is what I wanted to do,” Master Gunnery Sgt. Tyson said. I grew up a Navy brat. My dad was a command master chief with Seal Team 1, so I grew up in a military family. There was also a Marine that had recently graduated from boot camp that was a member of my uncle’s congregation who was a pastor, and he called my parents to see if he could get a meal and a comfortable place to sleep. I just remember sitting there listening to this young Marine’s stories, and I was just awe-inspired. Ever since then, when I was 9 years old, I wanted to join.”
Tyson’s son said he has had similar influences in his life, but made the decision on his own to become a Marine. Not only did he grow up with the military influence from his dad and family, he said, he just knew that it was something that was going to be a part of his life since he was young.
“I always knew I was going to be in the military. I didn’t know to what capacity until I was older, but I would say I knew from the time I was 4 or 5. It wasn’t until 9 or 11 that I knew the differences between the services and wanted to be in the Marines Corps,” Tyson’s son said. “I kind of grew up in that household, and I would hear the stories and watch the movies. And at a young age, it stuck along the way, and it’s all I wanted.”
Though the father and son were together for Father’s Day this year, that hasn’t always been the case. They have served in the military together for 10 years but have never had the opportunity to serve in the same exercise at the same time.
“It is pretty unique. His brother, my other son, are a unique family, and we have another family member that is Marine Corps, also,” the elder Tyson said. “At one point, all three of us were on active duty at the same time. This is the first time we have had the chance to be in an operational environment together; we both have been on active duty at different times, but now we are both in the reserve capacity.”
While they are both training at ITX here together, the father and son have different jobs. The elder Tyson said he serves in the environmental compliance division.
“I do the environmental compliance, [hazardous material] compliance. We go around doing ground safety inspections,” he said. “We go to the motor pool lots, making sure there are no spilled or mixed hazardous materials, and we go to the ranges doing walkthroughs, making sure there is no leftover dunnage or debris or any environmental impact.”
Tyson said he has had the opportunity to watch his son develop as a leade,r and he continues to offer him advice throughout his career.“I see someone that is very purpose-driven,” he said of his son. “I tell him to do right thing, and you can never go wrong taking care of your Marines -- they will take care of you.”