Dying boy to become honorary US Marine

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 20:53:02-04

A dying eight-year-old boy will spend what may be his final days as an honorary Marine.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot drill instructor Jeremiah Gillette is soaking in every second with his son Wyatt.

In his role, Gillette teaches people how to be tough. His own toughness has been tested, as he stands by his son's hospital bed.

Gillette said his son cannot talk, but it is clear he does not need words to touch hearts.

"He knows when people are kind of feeling down and he changes their attitude with a smile," Gillette explained.

Wyatt's rare condition has triggered everything from seizures to complete kidney failure.

"He's taught me to see the good in people," Gillette added.

Gillette went online and asked fellow Marines for their prayers, but what he received was an overwhelming sense of support.

Gillette's friend started a petition to make Wyatt an honorary Marine. The Mendleton Foundation posted it on their Facebook page and thousands of signatures came in.

The commandant only approves a few a year for extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps.

Wyatt's fighting spirit is placing him among the few and the proud.

"I mean, honestly, he's the toughest kid I've ever met. He's the toughest person I've ever met," Gillette said.

Wyatt may be in his last days of a losing battle.

No parent should have to bury his or her child, but when the time comes, Gillette will be proud to call him a fellow Marine.

Gillette planned to take Wyatt home with hospice care Wednesday afternoon, and they plan on having a special ceremony for him at Camp Pendleton on Saturday.

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