A Marine’s perspective on the 4th

By Larry Tucker
Posted 6/30/22

July 4 is America’s holiday.

For a Quitman graduate who has made a career of the military, it holds deep meaning, but he’s unsure if that’s the case for everyone.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

A Marine’s perspective on the 4th


July 4 is America’s holiday.

For a Quitman graduate who has made a career of the military, it holds deep meaning, but he’s unsure if that’s the case for everyone.

Marine Warrant Officer Arik Mauldin is in his 13th year as a Marine. Little did he know at 18 that he would still be a Marine and making it his lifetime vocation.

Mauldin is stationed at his new post for three years at Camp Lejeune in a move from the West Coast to the East Coast. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a 246-square-mile military training facility in Jacksonville, N.C. Its 14 miles of beaches makes the base a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports (Wilmington and Morehead City) allows for fast deployments.

Mauldin graduated from QHS early in order to join the Marines early with his older brother, Alex, on the “Buddy Plan.” Four friends who signed up together over a decade ago were Arik and Alex Mauldin, along with Joel Frosch, and Seth Hinesly.

“All four of us walked into the recruiter’s office at one time in Tyler,” Mauldin said. “The recruiting officer’s eyes got big and he was pretty happy we all came in together.”

“We all got separated, but I got the lucky end of the stick and got to go on two back-to-back deployments and have been all over the world,” Mauldin noted. “I have been in administration since I came into the Marine Corps. One of the unique things about the Marine Corps is we are the only branch that requires every single service member to be annually qualified as a marksman with a rifle.”

Mauldin is a warrant officer and works with personnel. He recently made that transition from the enlisted rank to the officer ranks.

“I will be at this job for three years,” he said. “The Marines like to move you around and you usually stay three years and then get moved on.”

In his job is as a personnel officer, he gives administrative support for Marines and their families.

He has seen many things in his 13 years as a Marine. Mauldin said he had an eye-opening experience upon arriving in Albania.

“As soon as we got off the bus, there were women trying to sell us their kids. That made a big impact on me and was just one of the reasons I am so thankful to be an American,” Mauldin said. “I am concerned about the generation coming up now and their sense of entitlement. This new generation just does not know how good they have it that we live in this gigantic country of the United States. I wish they could just look behind the curtain to see where these other people are growing up and have to stand in line just to get a roll of toilet paper. They might not even be able to get food to eat. You go to Albania with a $100 bill and live easily for a month and a half.”

Mauldin is the only one of the original “buddies” still in the Marines.

“I was the only one who stayed because God blessed me with a sense of being able to look into the future and see the benefits of where I’m at,” Mauldin stated. “The Marine Corps is very good about taking care of families and a great organization to be a part of. The young ones coming in to the corps don’t really understand that yet.”

Mauldin’s tour has included time a drill instructor.

“I went to Paris Island. I had a good work ethic prior to going down to the island, but once I got there I really understood what hard work really was. I worked 19-hour days for three months at a time,” Mauldin explained. “I averaged 20 to 22 miles a day on my feet. It was the hardest job I ever worked.”

What does July 4th mean to a veteran like Maudlin in the corps?

“It’s really hard to generically label it,” he said. “July 4th should mean something to every American who has been blessed to grow up in our country. As sad as it is to say, a lot of people have forgotten that. A lot of folks feel entitled. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what ethnicity you are or what race you are in this country. Nobody really understands what this day means anymore.”

Mauldin continued with his thoughts. “Everything we do on a daily basis and why we do what we do is important. Every single branch, not just the Marine Corps, is here because we are deterrents to anybody who wants any portion of American soil,” Mauldin declared. “I don’t even do any social media accounts because it made me sick to my stomach to see people do things to our flag and what they were saying about our country. As I got older I realized that was just a certain percentage of people who were negative. There are still patriots out there. There are still folks out there who thank us for our service and appreciate what we do and will always support us.”

Mauldin is moving his family to his new job site at Camp Lejuene, his wife Erica, daughter Adalynn and and son Elliot. He is the son of Kristi and Steve Burge and the grandson of Saundra Burge, all from Alba.