Veteran of the Month: Rodrick Beaton “Hot Rod”

By Milan Eagle media

Rodrick Beaton “Hot Rod” was born in Del Ray, Michigan, which is near River Rouge. He was the second oldest of nine children. In 1972 he graduated from Airport High School. On September 23, 1974 Hot Rod joined the United States Marine Corps and headed to Camp Pendleton, CA for his boot camp. Two brothers, John and Malcolm also served in the military, they were in the United States Navy.
Hot Rod was a Squad Leader in Boot Camp. He worked hard and made rank very quickly. In January 1975, right out of boot camp, he was Meritoriously Promoted to Lance Corporal. There was even more cause for celebration when he returned home on leave to Michigan the same month to marry his bride, Denise.
February 1975 Cambodian and Vietnamese, which had worked for the U.S.government, were brought to Camp Pendleton. Hot Rod serving as Provost Marshall, along with 2 guards and an interpreter, processed and shipped them to their sponsors here in the U.S.
In August 1975 he was Meritoriously Promoted to Corporal and in March 1976 Meritoriously Promoted to Sergeant. Throughout his career Hot Rod had many accomplishments in the Marines: Expert Sharpshooter, Battalion Marine of the Month – March 1975, Physical Fitness Award – scored 1st class in physical fitness test throughout his tour; Meritorious Mast – July 1977. Presented by John Cahill, Colonel, Commanding Officer of Camp Pendleton. Meritorious performance of duty in the Movement Coordination Center for professionalism, attention to duty and initiative resulting in more efficient operation and utilization of Movement Center resources and are keeping with the high standards and traditions of the Marine Corps.”, Letter of Exemplary Service for recognition of service – August 1977 from W. Cuppy, Commanding Officer.
Hot Rod spent 13 months in Okinawa Japan working with Marine Corps Movement (staff duty with pilots and troops). He worked 24 hours on 24 hours off, a job would be when a pilot flew in bodies returning from Viet Nam or troop movement. He worked coordinating a group for orders to be shipped out or coordinate transport of household goods to an address back in the U.S. Upon leaving Japan, he went to San Diego working the rest of his tour in MCMCC. September 23, 1977 Hot Rod was discharged and returned to Michigan.
Before Hot Rod’s military service he was the 1971 Golden Glove Champion in Michigan. After his service he was the Airport High School Wrestling Coach 1981-1985. He worked with Ford Motor Co. 33 ½ years as shop steward. He joined ABATE in 2014 he is on the board of directors and serves as State Awareness Director. ​ABATE is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the overall rights and promoting the safe operating practices of all Michigan motorcyclists. “Look Twice Save A Life” ABATE taught 6,000 student s in Michigan last year. A 1 hour class in motorcycle awareness is part of the curriculum to obtain a regular drivers license. Hot Rod teaches in Dundee, Tecumseh and Milan. He’s also active in Milan’s American Legion Post 268 and he sometimes speaks for motorcycle awareness at Foundation 14 events.
They moved to Milan in 1987 after Denise graduated from nursing school. Hot Rod and Denise have been married 43 years, they have 4 sons, 1 deceased and 7 grandchildren. All of their sons graduated from Milan High School.
He is thankful to the Marine Corps for “putting me on the right path”. He’s thankful to the guys he’s met: Jerry Feeman, Greg Stripp, Frank Young, Jimmy Chatterton, Andrew Cummings, Bruce Ross, Brett DeVee and Bobby Brown. These veterans have taught him respect the reason you’re a veteran. He’s thankful to Foundation 14, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit dedicated to putting combat veterans on motorcycles. He and Denise are especially thankful for George Bennett and Barb (ABATE), they helped with the hardest times when their son passed away.
He’s thankful to his wife and for all spouses, he said they are an essential help to their military partner. He said in the military everyone has a role and his was to always be helpful. He says some countries have their people serve. If we did that the people would do their fair share, know respect, order and two sides to every story and work for everything.
We thank you for your service to serve and protect our country. SEMPER FI


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