“The Marines have landed, and the situation is well in hand.” Richard Harding Davis, the famous American journalist wrote those words well over one hundred years ago. When the Marines landed and fought in Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, and Tarawa, Jessie Tinsley was there. Jessi Tinsley was a member of the 2nd Division Marines and served from 1941-1945. During this time, he fought in the Pacific Campaign for the United States. There he witnessed some of the most brutal fightings of the war and received the Bronze Star for his service in combat. He rose through the Marines to the rank of Master Sergeant. Later, during the Korean War, he would continue his service as an instructor for the Marines.
Jessie would take his Marine training and experience and turn it into a successful life after his service time had ended. He would go on to be a Certified Life Guard, an electrical contractor, and even a president for a term serving the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Several times throughout his life he would be interviewed and honored for his service to the country as a Marine. He would raise a family, and live the American dream.
By the time I met Jessie, he was well into his 90s. I met him at a small function where Jessie came in with the assistance of a wheelchair and spoke with several people. The event was not meant to honor him, but his name and service were quickly brought up. Along with several other people, I spoke with him, listened to his stories and “talked politics”. He had the natural ability to draw people to himself. He smiled, he talked, and he instantly seemed to be like everyone in the room’s grandfather.
It was during this function that I had the honor of observing Jessie interact with a young Marine. As I stood back and watched, the young Marine approached Jessie as if he was approaching the President of the United States or perhaps some other great dignitary. You could see the awe and wonder in the young man’s eyes as he kneeled down next to Jessie’s chair, and said, “Sir, I want to thank you for your service to our country and to the Marines.” The young man was not wearing a uniform but knew for a fact that not only was the man a Marine, but he also was an officer in the Marines. He held a rank that was higher than the one Jessie held, but he spoke to Jessie as if he would have followed him into battle anywhere the Marines may have had to go. The two men locked eyes and it was at that instant that I knew each recognized the other as a fellow Marine. The moment was beautiful for the Marines and even more beautiful for our nation. The two represented the old guard and the new guard identifying and respecting each other.
On January 5, 2018, Marine Master Sergeant Jessie Tinsley received his orders from the ultimate commander in the universe. Jesus Christ called Jessie home to be with his loved ones, his family, and likely many Marines who had gone before him. When I received the news that Jessie had died, I felt confident that he walked into Heaven in uniform with his hat in hand. The words of Davis suddenly rang out again in my head as I remembered them and Jessie. Yes, Jessie’s family, friends, and everyone who knew of him or heard his stories can rest assured that all is well in Heaven because the Marine has landed, and he has the situation well in hand.
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