3rd-generation serviceman joins Marines in hopes of following his forefathers’ footsteps

Inside the Gates
Young Marine joins service in hopes of following his forefathers’ footsteps
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 8:45 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2022 at 9:52 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As a child, Harrison Hopkins was always running around playing and was full of energy. It was very apparent to him at a young age that with his personality, he would be joining the military service. However, that wasn’t the only reason he wanted to enlist — it was also his roots.

“It all started with my grandparents,” Hopkins said. “Everybody was in the Army, and I thought it would be cool to be part of a military branch.”

Now a third-generation Marine, Hopkins is following in both his great-grandfather’s and grandfather’s footsteps. His great-grandfather served in World War II and a few decades later, his grandfather fought in the Vietnam War. His grandfather, Hopkins said, earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart during his time in the war.

“He flew generals under fire, so it was scary. He had a helicopter crash at one point, he had his helicopter get hit,” Hopkins said. “He had to take a general to safety.”

Growing up, Hopkins was inspired by his grandfather’s stories about his flying adventures — although according to Hopkins, his grandfather was always very humble about his tales.

However, Hopkins’ military career path took a slightly different journey after he was reached out to by a recruiter.

“I thought it was funny that he just kept calling and then after a while, I was like, ‘I’ll give him a chance. I’ll come into the office to see what they have to offer.’” Hopkins said. “And then I realized it was pretty cool. It was pretty much everything that stood for me.”

Now Hopkins is preparing to ship off to California to be stationed at his first base as a private. And although he may be wearing a different uniform than his forefathers, he looks forward to continuing the legacy they established.

“I give 110 percent and hope that’s good enough and that it can set up a future for my children, and that they want to do the same,” Hopkins said.