Bob Bland was only 11 years old when he pinned a large banner that read US Marine Corps to the wall of his bedroom.
"I just thought that the Marines were the epitome of what a military organization should be," said Bland.
Then in 1947, 17-year-old Bland proudly joined the Marine Corps. The 83-year-old is now a retired First Sergeant. He served for 22 years and fought in the Korean War in 1951 as a machine gun section leader.
"The Chinese soldiers were trained to have no value for human life whatsoever. They would come at us in mass, like 10 deep," he said.
Bland says the scariest part about that war was the amount of people trying to kill them.
"They're like ants coming over the hill at you, screaming, being on loud speaker systems saying, ‘Tonight, Marine, you die.'"
Bland recalls the constant terror, horrible weather conditions and being away from loved ones, but he says they had to do it to protect our freedom.
"That's what we got in this country. That's what we fought for," he said through teary eyes. "If I were in condition, I'd go back in a heartbeat," Bland said.
Bland chose to serve then and he still chooses serves now, in veteran groups and organizations here in Lubbock.
Although Bland has dedicated most of his life to helping others, whether in the Marine Corps or in his community, he says he does not feel worthy of the title "Hometown Hero."
"I don't call myself a hero. It's hard for me to say this without tearing up, but the heroes didn't get home...I did."
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.