Knoxville Marine Veterans honor fallen soldiers, while inspiring future service members
On Memorial Day, Future Marines of Greater Knoxville and Marine Veterans honored fallen U.S. Army Sgt. Mitchell Stout
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Marine Corps League Detachment No. 924 and the Young Marines of Greater Knoxville hosted a ceremony to honor U.S. Army Sgt. Mitchell Stout on Monday.
Stout died in Vietnam on March 12, 1970, shielding his fellow soldiers from a grenade blast. He had just turned 20-years-old.
Previous coverage: Remembering Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Mitchell W. Stout
“Sgt. Stout grabbed the grenade and ran out of a bunker, and before he made it out of the bunker, the hand grenade exploded. He saved many, many lives that day,” said Marine veteran Keith Kregel.
These stories of bravery are inspiring future service members, like Jesse Winger and Brennan Guffey. Jesse is 15, and Brennan is 11. Both boys are part of the Young Marines of Greater Knoxville, an official youth program of the Marine Corps that works to show young people what military service is all about.
“We haven’t gave our full debt back to the people who served in our military, and I feel like going into the military could help,” said Jesse.
Young Marines learn from veterans core values like leadership, teamwork, and discipline. “We work hard, and we just help each other out to be better people,” Jesse said.
Kregel said it’s important to keep sharing stories of sacrifice, like Sgt. Stout’s, while investing in future service members. “You have people coming up and thanking us for our service. We’re thanking them. This is our future,” Kregal said about the Young Marines. “If we don’t put in time into our community and into the future of our kids, what’s going to happen?”
Kregel said the Stout Memorial in Farragut’s Virtue Cemetery serves as a reminder of the cost of freedom. “Freedom is not free. There’s the ultimate sacrifice, just like Sergeant Stout and many other people before us. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Stout was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1974. The monument to honor his sacrifice was created in 1995.
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