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Why I Serve: 'Brotherhood' Unlike Any Other

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2004 – "I chose to serve in the Marine Corps because it has a 'brotherhood' unlike that of any of the other services," said Staff Sgt. Bradley J. Cress.

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Marine Staff Sgt. Bradley J. Cress, who holds daughter, Isabella, is a member of New York's Seneca Nation. Assignments have taken him around the world.

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As a teenager, Cress was fascinated by the Marine Corps' gung-ho attitude, esprit de corps, high public esteem, fame, glory, loyalty and honor.

Now 27, the Marine is administration chief for the General Officer Desk, Special Projects Directorate for the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

"I also serve in the armed forces because I want to help people," said the Buffalo, N.Y., native.

Cress is a member of New York's Seneca Nation. His assignments have taken him to many interesting places around the world. He served as an orders and legal clerk with Marine Aircraft Group 12, Marine Air Logistics Squadron 12 in Iwakuni, Japan, then attended the Marine Security Guard School, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. In 1997, he was assigned to the American Embassy Copenhagen, Denmark.

While there, he went on temporary duty to Kampala, Uganda, to serve as personal security for President Clinton.

In March 1999, Cress was assigned to the American Embassy in N'Djamena, Chad. He next served as administration chief for the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon before being assigned to the Directorate for the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

His advice to young American Indians who are thinking about serving in the armed forces is, "There are no handouts. You make or break your career. There are many opportunities that young (Native Americans) would not otherwise have coming from most of the reservations across the nation."

Cress said having American Indian Heritage Month is "a great concept. But I believe it counters the idea that we're all Americans -- whether citizens or not."

Even though societal attitudes toward Indians are changing for the better, the concept of "scalping" bothers him immensely, Cress said. "Scalping is the largest misconception about American Indians I've come across," he noted. "This was not a Native American 'invention or tradition.' We're taught this came from the Europeans who wanted 'trophies.'"

Being called an "Indian" is another word that bothers some tribal members, he said. "My father is not Indian," he pointed out. "My mother is 'Native American.' The term 'Indian' is offensive to the older types of our Nation.

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