Blount parents are proud of their young Marine

Missie Galentine, left, shares a moment with her son David Galentine moments after he graduated from William Blount High School.

Missie Galentine, left, shares a moment with her son David Galentine moments after he graduated from William Blount High School.

Paul Galentine, left, spends some quality time with his son, Lance Cpl. David Galentine, after the latter graduated from boot camp.

Paul Galentine, left, spends some quality time with his son, Lance Cpl. David Galentine, after the latter graduated from boot camp.

Not many people earn their Eagle Scout badge after they become a United States Marine. But then again, David Galentine’s parents will tell you their son is different than most.

The Troop 285 member out of Blount Christian Church left for basic training in June of 2007 at 17. Galentine had finished all the requirements for earning the Eagle Scout honor but didn’t get the opportunity to sit down with area scoutmasters and talk before he left for boot camp.

“He didn’t get a chance to do that before he left. These guys got together on the spur on the moment when he came home on leave after boot camp, and he got his Eagle Scout approved,” David Galentine’s dad, Paul Galentine, said. “He was a Marine first and then Eagle Scout, which is unusual.”

Galentine is serving in Iraq. A public information officer with a unit working with Galentine in Iraq took notice of Galentine’s enthusiasm for his job and wrote a story for Blount Today.

When contacted, the Marine’s parents Paul Galentine and Missie Galentine said they were proud of their son for his commitment to his country and his job. Both said this is the career he has always wanted.

“David wanted to go into the Marine Corp for as long as I can remember, from the time he was 7. Teachers would ask what the students wanted to do when they grew up, and they would get mad at David because that’s all he ever said wanted to do,” said Missie.

Missie said David was always very active in the ROTC program at William Blount High School. “He was on the drill team and pretty much all the stuff connected with ROTC,” she said.

She added that he was very active in his church youth group at Victory Baptist Church. “He’s always had a huge interest in music. He taught himself to play the guitar when he was freshman or sophomore,” she said.

David’s mother said her son skipped a grade in school and graduated early. “He turned 17 at the end of February of his senior year. That weekend -- after his 17th birthday -- he enlisted and did his enlistment physicals,” she said. “His recruiter said David was one of the easiest recruits he had ever worked with. He had never done drugs, didn’t drink, didn’t have kids and had good grades.”

Missie said she wanted David to be at least 17 and half before he went to boot camp after he graduated from William Blount in 2007. “I wanted to hold David off from shipping out until July or August. He was scheduled to ship out on July 24, and he ended up leaving for boot camp toward the end of June,” she said.

Paul Galentine was in the Marine Corp and understood what his son was getting into when he enlisted and then went to boot camp early.

“I was proud, but knowing what’s going on in the world today, it’s scary,” Paul Galentine said. “I know what is expected and what is expected of him.”

Missie said she also realized that going to Iraq was also in David’s future.

“As far as going to Iraq, he wanted to go from the time he hit boot camp. He said he needed to make a difference.”

Paul said his son is proud of his role in Iraq. “He told me not too many people actually get to help a country start,” Paul said. “He was really proud about being part of that, and he liked being there, but misses everybody here.”

Missie had a simple message for her son. “We miss him and can’t wait for him to come home, but we’re very proud of him,” she said. “He has two younger sisters, Janet and Sarah Galentine, who are looking forward to him coming home.”

Paul said they expect David to come home from his mission in early spring. Paul said he has a simple wish for his son. “I love him, and I want him home safe,” he said.

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