Marine Corporal Joe Shuttlesworth, a Hometown Hero - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Marine Corporal Joe Shuttlesworth, a Hometown Hero

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87 year old Joe Shuttlesworth looks at the uniform he wore almost 70 years ago. Back then, Shuttlesworth was ready to join the service even before he was allowed.

"They wouldn't accept me unless my parents signed the release cause I wasn't of age," Shuttlesworth said.

Since his parents refused, Shuttlesworth had to wait until he was 18 to sign up.

"They asked me, 'what branch of service do you prefer?' And naturally I said the Coast Guard, 'no it's full up today," Shuttlesworth said.

However, it's hard to believe, this proud Marine then proceeded to choose every branch but the Marines.

"At the end of the day, these two Marine sergeants in dress blues step out into the hall and said 'you all have been selected to volunteer for the Marines," Shuttlesworth said.

Shuttlesworth says he instantly knew, the road ahead would be tough.

"It was a bit scary at first because the Marine Corps is noted for being there first and taking more chances," Shuttlesworth said.

He was right. Shuttlesworth went through Cryptographers School and was immediately shipped overseas.

"When we hit the beaches in Okinawa, I realized then this is for real," Shuttlesworth said.

While in Okinawa, Shuttlesworth worked with the Najavo Indians to decode encrypted messages.

"I always thought, you don't need to put that in code, nobody can understand that but the Navajo," Shuttlesworth said.

Shuttlesworth says, their messages may have been intercepted by the Japanese a time or two, but that it didn't matter.

"They never could crack that code," Shuttlesworth said.

Shuttlesworth was discharged in 1946, but he says, he still feels a sense of comradery with the men and woman serving today.

"I got home in pretty good shape, but the men and woman that come home now have limbs gone," Shuttlesworth said.

A patriotic and proud Marine, who still gets excited to hear the words, Semper Fi.

"I tell people that I'd like to go back to the recruiting office and sign up again if they give me another stripe," Shuttleworth said.

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