Wyatt And His Marine
From age 3-to-now: Wyatt's clothes have consisted of, green camo or dessert camo, no hunter's camo (soldiers don't wear that), and boots just like the soldiers wear. His toys consist of wooden guns (his father and pawpaw make for him), binoculars, canteens, survival gear, MRE's (which he actually eats) and of course a back-pack to carry it all in. His birthdays consist of camo everything, even face paint. He sends out 100 Christmas cards each year (four years now) to soldiers, signing each one.
Wyatt, at age 3 yrs, began asking questions about our country, soldiers and fighting for freedom. He has always been a very thoughtful and serious child. At bedtime, he would ask his father questions such as: "Why do we have soldiers?" "Why do they have to fight?" "Why do other people want to take our freedom away?" "What are all the different soldiers called?"
One night Wyatt asked, "What soldier goes in first, daddy?"
His father said, "Well, that would be the Marines, son."
Wyatt replied, "Then that's what I want to be, daddy, a Marine."
Then one night Michael (his father) read him a bedtime story, an article from: BRIGADE QUARTERMASTERS, CATALOG #70, "Something That Didn't Make The News" by: Bob Lonsberry, about Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh. An awe-inspiring story. After hearing the story, Wyatt ask if he could write a letter to Capt. Chontosh, to thank him. His parents said, "Sure, why not." In his letter Wyatt thanked him for fighting for our freedom, telling him he would pray for him and that he thought he was a hero. (letter attached pic #3 email 2) Then came the tough part, searching for an address and getting the letter to Capt. Chontosh. This task fell to Wyatt's mother, Brandy, who tried an extensive Internet search, called Marine Corp Family Line, also called the base where Capt. Chontosh was stationed at the time of the article. (Not being a family member of a Marine they could not give out any information) After 2 months of searching, not knowing what else to try, I suggested to his mother that we drive to Lawton, OK to the Marine recruiting office, tell his story, maybe someone would help us. (We of course took Wyatt with us, hoping they could not resist the request coming from him.) (pic #4) It happened that the Recruiting Officer there that day was head of recruiting for the state of OK. He patiently listened to our story, ask a few questions, was amazed at the lengths that we had gone to to send a letter to a Marine. He also saw how important it was to a little 4 yr. old boy to be able to deliver his letter to 'his' Marine. He picked up the phone and one phone call later we had an email address that would reach Capt. Brian Chontosh.
We then sent Capt. Chontosh, Wyatt's letter and picture. A few weeks later Wyatt received an email from Capt. Chontosh thanking him for the letter and asking Wyatt for his address and ask if he could send him something. Wyatt watched the mail.................. Two years later, (a Marine never breaks his promise, Right?) Wyatt (6 yrs) received a package: Inside was a note saying, "Wyatt, I have never forgotten your letter.", some Iraqi money, and Capt. Chontosh's personal boonie hat he wore in Iraq. (pic #2 ) (which Wyatt wears proudly to this day) Brian Chontosh may never know the extent to which he touched a life. First, with the bravery he showed in war, fighting for our freedom, never stopping, not until the job was done. Second, by the humility he showed in the email and letter that he sent to Wyatt. He may never know what his actions, his story meant to a little boy. (To young to even read the story himself) Wyatt adopted Brian Chontosh as 'his' Marine, a soldier to look up to, an example of the soldier he wants to be. Wyatt will never forget 'his Marine', Brian Chontosh, he prays for him all the time, for all Marines, for all soldiers.
Please don't misunderstand, Wyatt has other things going on in his life. He raises cows, chickens, enjoys four-wheeling, karate class and target practice. Of course, the last two are in preparation for being a Marine, because that is always first in his mind. While on vacation this summer in Alaska, (July`08) he picked up sticks to use as guns (because his parents wouldn't let him take his in his luggage) and would scout the trails, protecting his family. Because isn't that exactly what a soldier would do? (pic #3)
Son of Michael and Brandy Graves,
Brother of Mariah Graves,
Grandson of David & Janet Graves
I hope that I have told this in such a way that will help you understand a little boy's pursuit of a soldier, of a dream and his longing to protect the freedom of our great country.
Janet Graves (Wyatt's Mamaw)