Fun fun fun. But it was also a tough week. That is for sure. But she enjoyed it. Every bit of it. And we did too.
I think she and here mother might be a little tired as they fly home.
But we all enjoyed this. And we look forward to seeing you again!
Tim Maxwell LtCol USMC
Hello Marines and special friends,
I just wanted to share with you some news!! Gunny Claus made sure that Taylor got her one and only Christmas wish, and she was newly pinned with Sergeant Chevrons tonight by the one and only tried and true (warm and fuzzy when it comes to Taylor) Master Guns. I can't even begin to tell you how excited she is. Through the pinning, and moments afterwards, she was a true Marine, standing tall and proud. When I was able to get her off on her own, her eyes lit right up and she leaped into my arms........ I GOT MY STRIPES AND RIFLES she about broke my ear drums she yelled with such excitement!
I am telling you all now, better watch out, she is on a roll and ready! Lt Col Maxwell, she is READY for Camp Lejeune yesterday!
Her spirit, I know she will be ready for her battles now. In her heart, she has always been a warrior, but by gosh, she is pinned now AND she is a Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps........there is no stopping her now!
From: Cathy Batten [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 2:14 PM To: tim@SemperMax.com Subject: You met my daughter at Bethesda
I hope this gets to you, I am the mom of Taylor Batten. Let me correct that, PFC Taylor Batten.
We were just at Bethesda, having a study done on her at the National Institute of Health. She is 12 years old and has Turner Syndrome. Her story is all over the net right now, and somehow, the guys at the Naval hospital heard about it and set it up so my angel could come in and see her wounded Marines.
On Oct 18th, as we were getting her ready to meet the wounded, we had the amazing privilege of meeting you. As we walked into the office, one of the Marines I was with said 'Oh wow, Lt Col Max is here, here is an awesome guy to meet' So I knew we were in for a treat. I was right.
I hope you remember us, as there was so much flurry going on in the office. I would like to send a link to you for you to know of her story. Before you read it, know two things. She has been made a PFC so now she is a true Marine, and the other, she IS a fighter!
http://onemarinesview.com If you scroll down to the two entries of Oct 16, WE HAVE A MISSION and then to Oct 18, What a way to end a day, those will tell a bit about her. This is just one of her stories. On Oct 8th, there was a ceremony in our home town, about 250 people showed up to honor Taylor. She was made a PFC, and an Honorary Ride Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders. A man that held the Purple Heart for 41 years, presented it to her, saying she earned it. Here is another story on her......
I am so proud of my daughter. While, with her medical condition and some of the devastating news we found out while at Bethesda, she will never be able to be in the Corps, in her heart and soul, she IS a Marine and an American Warrior.
In meeting some of the severely wounded Marines she met that day, she gained strength. In meeting you for the brief time that she was able to, she gained strength. She saw that day, some very serious wounds and she never backed down. She touched these men, she talked with these men, she bonded with these men. She was not a small child of 12 in there with them, she was a strong force to contend with.
We know, that what we found out, she has a devastating heart condition. But we are choosing to look at it in another way. She is only 12 years old and in the few weeks that her story has been out, we have been contacted from all over the United States as well as some outstanding Marines in Iraq who read her story as well. They have all said they gain strength from her. We have had Vietnam vets tell her that she has given them their pride back, after the homecoming they got, they were stripped of everything. We have had very old feeble men that fought for our country decades ago, reach out to her and by the time they are done talking to her, they are standing tall and proud and are no longer feeble little old men. While on a tour at the Vietnam Wall, an old veteran saw her in her uniform, and he grabbed onto her and cried. He said, he has always cried painful tears at the Wall, and on the day, because of her, he was crying tears of joy. It has been so amazingly powerful. We feel, in her having the condition she has, she has a purpose on this earth. In seeing how people have reached almost desperately out to her, we know she is going to have a long life. I will not accept anything else.
She has touched way to many lives in her short time, just think of what she can do as she grows older!! I have done much reading on your story since we met that day. You told me how to look you up and I have. Sir, I feel you and my daughter are doing the same type of work. I am so grateful for the blessing of my daughter, just as our country should be thankful for the blessing in the form of you. Your work, well, it is beyond words. Thank you.
You gave Taylor an invite to come and visit at Camp Lejuene. I would like to know if that offer will stand, and if so, we would gladly take you up on it. We live in Michigan, so I am not sure on how or when we could do it, but I just know, we would love to have her there. She is a miracle in even being born, less then 1% of the girls with her condition even survive birth. She can do amazing things, just as I can see you and your family have as well.
I am in the process of finding out if we are going to be able to go back to the Naval hospital yearly as well. She has work to do, she has a mission and I am going to do all I can do to make sure that she is able to do it.
I thank you for your time, I thank you for you taking the time to talk to us while we were there. It all was a blur as it happened so fast, but in meeting you, it will be with us for a lifetime.
Hi Cathy -
It is great to hear from you! I have told many about Taylor. It was very, very enjoyable. I am looking forward to seeing you both again. And yes, you will be invited. Let me have Shannon plan this, the trip, that is, because I have so much reading and planning...well, I will give this to Shannon.
I would also like to ask you if I can send this to others. Taylor is very powerful. Her presence alone is powerful. She reminds people how lucky they are just to live life! America is such a wonderful place, sometimes people forget the good, and only remember the bad. Like gas prices. If gas prices are worst thing you had to deal with today, then this is a GOOD day.
Her presence alone will remind people. And her passion, her friendliness, are even better.
I sometimes wonder if God wanted me to be where I am just for that. To remind. I do not know, really, as I am not a fanatical christian, but I keep wondering...
And then I meet Taylor? Wow.
So there is much more coming, especially if you let me send this on to some specific people.
We will be in touch very soon.
And please send me a picture of your family. I would like to post it on the hall in the Wounded Warrior Barracks, both West and East coast.
If you have never seen or heard about those, there is a web site that I try to keep up to date. It isn't up to date, but I am trying. SemperMax, I always do my best. But sometimes it isn't very good.
Still, pictures of the barracks. I have also attached one.
by MC1(SW⁄AW) AnTuan Guerry Journal assistant editor
Gunnery Sgt. Martin Word helps Young Marine Pfc. Taylor Batten “gown up” as she prepares to enter a room on the hospital’s recovery ward Oct. 18.
Taylor Batten just wanted to be a Marine — The Few. The Proud. The Marines.
Taylor, however, suffers from Turner Syndrome, a rare chromosomal condition that affects roughly one in 3,000 female births worldwide. The disease is characterized by a partially or completely missing second sex chromosome.
Taylor is no stranger to hospitals. At 6 months old, she had heart surgery. Taylor has had five sinus surgeries as a result of her condition. She also suffers from chronic-fatigue syndrome, scoliosis and impaired visual-spatial functioning.
“[We] have been overwhelmed by all the support and outreach,” Cathy said.“All she wants to be is a Marine. In her heart and soul, she is a Marine and that will never be taken away from her. I believe her path in life has been chosen, her love for her country and her love for her military is going to take her somewhere.”
Taylor arrived to NationalNavalMedicalCenter Oct. 18, but she wasn’t here for another procedure. Decked in a desert camouflage uniform and dog tags, square-jawed and steely-eyed, she would have made any Marine proud.
This“Marine” is focused on one thing; ensuring her troops are okay.
“Oohrah,” the 12-year-old Taylor hollered as she was greeted by Marines in Bethesda’s Bldg. 10 lobby.
When Taylor was made an honorary Young Marine private first class Oct. 8, the 7th grade student from MendonMiddle School in New Jersey, all of her dreams came true.
Too young to enlist, Taylor began sending care packages to Marines in Iraq about 18 months ago because“it was the right thing to do,” she said. At the same time, she began a pen-pal friendship with a Marine stationed in Iraq, Sgt. Ben Pavlowsky.
“He wrote her a lot and even came to visit [Taylor] at home with his family when he came home from Iraq,” Taylor’s mother Cathy recalled.“He said she was“an inspiration,’ and he made her an honorary Marine when he flew [an American] flag for her in Iraq on one of his missions.”
“It was an amazing feeling,” Taylor said.“It made me feel strong.”
Unbeknownst to her, Batten is an inspiration to many others too — especially her mother, who calls her daughter a“fighter.”
“My daughter has been a fighter all her life ... we’re following her lead. She’s suffered a lot and I used to ask,“why is this happening to my daughter,’” Cathy said,“but now I’m convinced that this is her purpose ... she is a gift to me as a parent.”
Cathy said the instant Taylor became an Honorary Marine, her whole perspective on life and her battle with the disease changed.
“She became much stronger and so much braver,” Cathy said.“When she first found out she had to go to [National Institutes of Health], she was upset and cried and said she wanted no part of it.”
Almost instantaneously, Cathy recalled, Taylor composed herself and said,“Marines don’t back down and I am not going to back down either, I want to go,” Taylor said.
Like a true Marine, Taylor just“wanted to do her part” and check on her injured comrades at the NationalNavalMedicalCenter. Bethesda’s Marine Corps Liaison organized and coordinated her visit. Prior to the visit Cathy said she ensured Taylor was well aware of the severity of some of the injuries she might see at the hospital.
“[Taylor] and I talked about her coming into the hospital and what she might see and how she would feel about it,” Cathy said.“As strong as she is, I have to remind myself she is still [only] 12 ... she never wavered in her desire to help out in any way she can.”
Cathy said a big reason Taylor wanted to visit Bethesda’s wounded Marines is because she remembers her surgeries and how she felt, and she wanted her“guys to get better and strong and I can help do that.”
“I’ve been in the Navy for 29 years and they have not made me an honorary Marine,” National Naval Medical Center Commander RDML Adam Robinson, Jr., told Taylor during her visit.“That must mean you’re really special.”
In addition to visiting the hospital’s wounded, Taylor also witnessed Robinson conduct a Purple Heart ceremony for HN William Falcon who was injured in Iraq.
Bethesda Marine Corps Liaison staff member Marine Staff Sgt. Nelson Merizalde said Taylor walks, talks and acts like a Marine.
“[Taylor] has a lot of pride, honor, courage and commitment ... she is one of a kind,” said Merizalde, who was essential in scheduling her visit to Bethesda.“It’s not everyday that a 12-year-old wants to see injured Marines. She’s very loyal to what she does and what she stands for ... she carries herself like a true Marine.”
Master Sgt. Terrell Jones, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Casualty Service branch, said Taylor’s selflessness impressed him the most. He said Taylor didn’t ask for any special favors; she was just worried about the injured Marines.
“The visit wasn’t about her,” Jones said.“We teach our Marines about selflessness during boot camp ... she understands giving ... at an early age — she gets it.”