Mr. and Mrs. Matthews

22 Feb 2024 | Lance Cpl. William Horsley Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island

December 9, 2023, Pfc. Morgan Mathews is awarded her Eagle, Globe, and Anchor from her husband and recruiter SSgt. Charles Mathews. The EGA ceremony is one of the most important events in any Marines life, rarely is there an opportunity for a spouse to present a new Marine with the EGA. This moment was so emotionally impactful that neither party could barely say a word.

“It was an emotional moment, there were no words... everything that could have been said was said in the hug,” said Pfc. Morgan Mathews.

“It was a lot more emotional than I thought it was going to be, I’m not the type to tear up but I was really happy to give it to her,” said SSgt Charles Mathews.

The two Marines got to share a very unique experience that is rare in the Marine Corps, and now have an EGA ceremony that is even more memorable.

Morgan had hoped that because her husband was an active-duty Marine, as well as a recruiter, that he would be able to present her with her EGA. However, when marching under the We Make Marines sign and onto the parade deck for the ceremony she could not see him.

“I was kind of peeking around trying to see if he was there and couldn’t see him,” said Morgan. “I thought to myself, dang he didn’t come.”

Morgan was upset when she thought her husband wouldn’t be able to be there but made peace with it. Charles and Morgan have a two-year-old daughter together and Morgan assumed her husband was unable to be there because he was taking care of her. After seeing that other family members were here for the Marines around her Morgan became more upset about her husband not being there.

Unbeknownst to Morgan, her husband was planning to surprise her and was hiding behind the stands so that she couldn’t see him. As the ceremony began the Company 1stSgt gave a short speech and the drill instructors began to hand out the new Marines their EGA and Charles came out of hiding and walked with them to her.

“At first I didn’t recognize him, it had been almost three months, he was taller than I remembered and blonder too,” said Morgan. “As soon as I recognized him, I began crying.”

The couple had a very tearful and impactful reunion when Charles stepped in front of Morgan to present her EGA. The moment was so emotionally intense that only Charles was able to briefly say anything before he walked away.

“Congratulations Marine, I’m proud of you,” said Charles.

Maintaining a relationship during recruit training can be an extremely difficult task and like all other recruits, the Mathews only way to communicate was through letters.

For Morgan it was strange and difficult writing letters to her family back home because she is used to the instant communication available today. For Morgan it was difficult at first to be able to convey and communicate everything she wanted to tell her family in one letter. Her husband wrote her consistently enough that she had multiple letters from him nearly every time they handed out mail.

“He would write a letter and forget something to say then would go off on a tangent so then he would write two more letters,” said Morgan.

Getting letters from Morgan was the highlight of Charles’ day and had made it part of his daily routine. Every day he would take his daughter for a walk and check the mailbox for letters from Morgan.

“It was great, I loved hearing from my wife because that’s the only communication you get while at recruit training,” said Charles. “Me and my daughter were pumped every time we got a letter because we got to see how she was doing and how she was feeling.”

For Morgan getting letters from her husband was one of the most challenging parts of recruit training. Charles would, from time to time, send her photos of their two-year-old daughter; a stark reminder of the time she is sacrificing to better herself and join the Marines.

“Seeing her getting taller, hearing that she’s saying new words, and doing new things was hard,” said Morgan.

When viewing these photos and reading these letters Morgan had to remind herself that she is here to better her life not just for herself, but for her family.

“If I’m more confident in myself, have a career, and feel fulfilled I’ll be a better parent,” said Morgan.

Morgan had an added challenge on her recruit training because seeing these photos reminded her that she couldn’t be in her own head, she had to be present.

“It was really hard every time I got a letter, trying not to get in my head about not being there and being here instead,” said Morgan.

Morgan took huge inspiration to join from her husband because he was an outstanding Marine. The type of Marine who is always be there for those around him or stay late to ensure things are done properly.

“He’s never had a negative counseling or done anything bad in his career and he’s always been that Marine who took initiative,” said Morgan. “If there is ever anyone struggling with something at work there is no doubt he’ll help them with it.”

Morgan wants to be a Marine just like her husband one that is proficient at their job and is always there for their fellow Marines.

“When I go to my first unit I hope to have a Corporal or a Lance Corporal like that because I have always watched him mentor,” said Morgan. “I would visit on lunch and watch him mentor and it was very motivating and it put in perspective how I want to be as a Marine.”

Morgan had various careers throughout her life both before and after she had begun her relationship with Charles. However, none of these jobs had provided her with fulfilment and Morgan was looking for more.

“It felt like I didn’t have any forward momentum, with the nine to five life you don’t really feel fulfilled,” said Morgan.

Morgan had kept these thoughts in the back of her mind, while her relationship with Charles progressed. Constantly being around the Marines that Charles worked with, Morgan felt she fit in better with them, rather than the other spouses.

“I never fit in with the other spouses,” said Morgan. “I was always the one that was energized and wanted to be around the Marines.”

When Charles began his recruiting duty, Morgan decided to talk to him about wanting to enlist in the military. To her surprise he was very supportive and encouraging with her decision and was willing to help her.

However, she found out shortly thereafter that she was pregnant, the two decided to wait until their daughter was a little older. When their daughter was six months old they revisited the idea and began the lengthy process of enlisting.

“I really want this, I’ve thought about it every day for a year,” said Morgan.

Charles had been recently promoted to Staff Sergeant and after seeing the promotion ceremony he strongly felt that further inspired Morgan to enlist. Shortly after the ceremony Morgan confronted Charles and told him that she was ready and asked him for support.

“Are you sure you want to do this, because if you want to do this I’m one of the best recruiters to get it done,” said Charles. “Once we start this there is no going back.”

Charles’ promotion ceremony had the Officer in charge of his Recruiting Station, Marines from both coasts, as well as an officer he had graduated high school with.

For Morgan the ultimate reason she wants to join was the impact that her husband had on her. Constantly being around the Marines really left a mark and really showed her what the Marines stood for.

Morgan told him that seeing all the Marines that came to his promotion really sedimented that she wanted to be a marine. The experience from that ceremony built on years of being around other Marines and experiencing the Esprit de corps and experiencing the brotherhood and sisterhood that all Marines share and is ultimately on of the many reasons Morgan chose to take on the challenge of becoming a United States Marine.

“That’s where I’m meant to be, I feel like I can make a change in my life there,” said Morgan.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island