Lance Cpl. Landon Beaty poses in the atrium of the Charles C. Carson Center
for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 30, 2012. Beaty is one of two Marines at the mortuary who serve as Marine Corps liaisons to the families of fallen Marines. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Caitlin Jones)
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listens as Marine Lance Cpl. Landon Beaty, Marine Corps liaison, explains the process of preparing uniforms for fallen heroes Aug. 10, 2012, at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Del. Dempsey and his wife Deanie met with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines during their visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. —
Lance Cpl. Landon Beaty didn't join the Marines to sit behind a desk.
"My job for the Marine Corps is amphibious assault vehicle crewman ," said Beaty. "Long story short -- I drive a big tank."
Less than two years after enlisting, Beaty found himself volunteering for a job he felt was meant for him, a job at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs as one of two Marine Corps liaisons.
"Even before I joined the Marines, I grew up in the funeral business," said Beaty. "And I learned of the mortuary here at Dover, and I thought what an honor it would be to work here. So I sent in my forms to volunteer for a job opening here, and I thought it was a long shot. When I found out I was selected for the job, it was a dream come true."
Beaty had a hard time adjusting to the long hours, and stresses of dealing with families of fallen Marines, after he reported to the mortuary in February, but it was a solemn mission that he put his all into completing.
"One thing that threw me off at first were the long hours," said Beaty. "But being here awhile I've gotten used to it. To be the liaison here at the mortuary, and represent the entire Marine Corps is an honor. Having the responsibility of meeting with fallen Marine families when they get here is very honorable, but it's very hard at the same time," he added.
While he's helped bring home countless Marines in the last nine months, there's a few families that reach out to Beaty after they've left Dover, and one in particular that made an impression on him.
"Corporal Keaton Coffey -- I will never forget Corporal Coffey or his family," he said. "A month after I met with Corporal Coffey's family, I got a phone call from Mr. Coffey inviting me to his son's unit memorial ceremony in California. One of the reasons why they invited me to California, was because they told me I reminded them a lot of their son, so hearing that from a father of a fallen Marine was very hard, but it's also very honorable."
Beaty continues to not only take care of families, but the fallen Marines as well.
"Every single Marine who comes through here is dressed by me and my staff sergeant," said Beaty. "We make that our personal mission. I always promise families that when they come here, your son or your daughter is going to look the best they've ever looked in their dress blues when they leave here. Marines take care of Marines, we take care of our own, and we take care of our own's family, because it's our family."
Beaty still has more than a year left at the mortuary before he'll return to his regular job in the Corps, but he's already contemplating the legacy he will leave behind.
"I want people to always know that when it came to Marines, or the Marines' families, that Lance Corporal Beaty did his job to the best of his ability and he did it good," he said.
"We strive to be the best at anything, so being here at Dover Mortuary, representing the U.S. Marine Corps, I strive to be the best I can be for the Corps and for the families that I serve here."