< Back

John Besh

John Besh: "I joined the Marines because I wanted to serve my country. I was, um, from a family that believed in military service, and, uh, I was thrilled to do what I could and, I always saw myself as being a part of the military, and, uh, from a young age I knew that there was only one branch that I could, uh, serve in, and that'd be the Marine Corps. My dad had always encouraged me that if I was going to enlist--he, he had been a pilot--and that if I was ever gonna enlist in the military, that, uh, I should seriously look at the Marines. Immediately after Katrina, we had a city under water. In a lot of cases, on fire. We had, um, just chaos out here. People needing help desperately. This was every bit as war-ravaged as I had ever seen. And, um, I looked at it as, hey, this is my mission to be a Marine again. I'm trained for this. I can do this. And, um, right now's not a time for complaining, but a time for action. And so, I thought, um, I've been called to be a, a cook. And that's what I do, I, restaurants, we have resources. I can cook for people, people need food, people need water, and we can get them to them. So, um, that's immediately what we started doing. I had some other Marine friends that had, um, they were bringing in, uh, boats. I'm talking one hundred, two hundred boats at a time, trying to rescue people and bring people to higher ground, getting them out, saving them from the flooded waters and, so it was my idea that, uh, we had marshaled whatever resources we could, we would set up small places where we could cook for people and feed them. I think the values that you're taught, the, I think the leadership that, that's instilled in you, as a Marine, helps, um, in a lot of ways in the civilian world, to, uh, deliver, to, to, uh, overcome what might be surmounta--insurmountable odds to, uh, fulfill whatever the mission is. I look at everything now as a mission. And, um, that's something that's just been engrained in me. And it's helped me a lot. And it's helped me, um, in ways I couldn't begin to articulate. We just found a need, and, uh, pursued it, and attacked it, and, uh, did what we could to help and to make a difference."