Boy with rare illness made honorary Marine, dies the next day
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A terminally ill child's wish to become an Honorary Marine came true Saturday at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.
8-year-old Wyatt Gillette died the next morning.
Gillette received his Eagle, Globe and Anchor as well as a smart salute with his parents by his side.
His father, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Gillette, is a drill instructor with 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Wyatt Gillette was born on Aug. 15, 2008, and diagnosed four years later with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome Type 1 (Trex 1 Mutation), a rare genetic disorder.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller approved Gillette as an Honorary Marine just days after a petition was posted online asking him to bestow the honor on the young boy.
On Saturday, Neller tweeted pictures of Gillette becoming an Honorary Marine with this message: “One of the easiest decisions yet as CMC was to make this 8-yr old a Marine. Keep fighting, Wyatt! You are a Marine!”