Always a Marine


July 11–As a younger man, Micheal P. Barrett spent his days in Youngstown before graduating from Lewiston-Porter High School.

These days, Sgt. Major Micheal P. Barrett is known as a Niagara County guy who worked hard at his career of choice, rising all the way from a recruit to the highest enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps.

On Thursday, Barrett’s friends and supporters gathered on Church Street in the village to present him with a special honor.

A section of the road, roughly a mile-long stretch, near Veterans Park has now been designated as “Micheal P. Barrett Way.”

“He’s a hometown guy from our little town, Youngstown, who joined the Marine Corps and is now the top guy,” said Jeff Baker, a Town of Porter councilman and longtime friend of Barrett’s who helped bring the honorary way project to fruition. “Freedom isn’t free and this is one of the guys who pays the price for us. We just wanted to show our appreciation for his dedication to his country.”

Barrett and members of his family and his friends participated in a dedication ceremony on Thursday. He said he was grateful for the honor and “very humbled” by the experience.

“As I sat in the Pentagon last night, I was consumed with the thoughts of so many who have done so much more than I,” Barrett told the crowd during Thursday’s ceremony. “When people see this sign, I hope that people see the hundreds that have went before me and done far more than me. When people ask about this sign, I want you to say ‘it’s about tomorrow.’ What I mean by that is, for your tomorrow we will give our today.”

Family members said serving the military has been something Barrett aspired to do from an early age.

“Mike was always a Marine,” said Barrett’s uncle, Bill Smith, of Ransomville. “He was a very energetic kid.”

That energetic kid joined the armed forces in 1981 and completed Infantry Training School at Camp Lejeune, N.C. His ascent through the Marine Corps took him on a variety of assignments, some in far off lands and, on several occasions, into combat zones.

He was deployed during the Gulf War, had two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq, and was also deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom in March 2010. During this deployment, he also became the NATO Regional Command (Southwest) Command Sergeant Major for Nimruz and Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Barrett’s decorated military career includes numerous major awards, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” and gold star, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” and three gold stars, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, Combat Action Ribbon with gold star, and the Presidential Service Badge.

Barrett assumed his current post as the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 2011. He is in the process of serving a four-year term.

“Obviously, any sergeant major in the Marine Corps has had an outstanding career and accomplished great things,” Baker said.

Contact city editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.

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