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Second generation Marine cherishes memento from his father

NAME: Cpl. Kevin Greenberg

Age: 28

Hometown: Crown Point, Ind.

Branch: Marines

Job: Truck driver


CAMP SOLOMON ISLANDS, Kuwait—Just before he left Indiana for Kuwait, Cpl. Kevin Greenberg received a memento from his father—a Marine fighting knife called a Ka-Bar.

When Greenberg arrived in Kuwait, he sat on the back of a 2-ton truck, looking at the knife, and he noticed his father's initials carved on the wooden handle. He carved his own initials underneath.

"It's a family thing now," Greenberg says. "But I hope to God my son doesn't have to carry it."

Greenberg, who's divorced, has a 6-year-old son named Zachary. "I took him out to breakfast the morning after we got activated," Greenberg says. "He just joined Cub Scouts. I used to tell him about the little wood car races they do. He was so excited about it. Before I left, the only thing he said to me was, `You aren't going to be there to build my car?' I just started crying."

Greenberg is stationed at Camp Solomon Islands in northern Kuwait. Almost every day, he drives equipment to a staging area near the front lines, preparing for war.

His knife is nicked and battered, more than 20 years old, and it doesn't hold a sharp edge too long. It's the most important thing he carries.

"I'd go ballistic if this knife got lost," he says. "I'd go to the general himself and we would get this knife back, if it ever got taken."

His father, Richard Greenberg, 51, served in the Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972, when he was on a reconnaissance team in Vietnam. He was in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1981 to 1993.

Cpl. Greenberg has followed in his father's footsteps. After five years of active duty, he joined the reserves, in an Engineer Support Company based in Battle Creek, Mich., in the same platoon as his father. "In Desert Storm, my dad was the platoon sergeant for the motor transport platoon," Cpl. Greenberg says. "That's the same platoon I'm in now."


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

ILLUSTRATION (from KRT Illustration Bank, 202-383-6064): iraqfaces-greenberg