Walking Marine Honors Vets, But Is Trailed By His Past

7:19 AM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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This week, many around Central Georgia noticed a man dressed in fatigues, carrying a flag and walking through Warner Robins.

When 13WMAZ's Lorra Lynch Jones went to meet the marching Marine, she learned there's more to his story than meets the eye.

Wednesday morning, he was taking a break on Russell Parkway, sitting behind a real estate sign at the corner of Lake Joy Road.

He said, "My name is Mac McQuown. I'm a U.S. Marine. I served from 1980 to 1988."

McQuown explained the purpose of his cross-country walk, saying, "I wanted to do something to bring awareness back to the veterans."

He said he was in Warner Robins as part of a 15,000-mile journey.

"On September 11th, 2011, I left my place of residence in Virginia and started walking. I walked as far north as Ground Zero, New York. I then turned south and walked to Florida. I've walked to here to date," he said.

Warner Robins is not the end of his trek. He plans to walk to all 50 states, but that is also not the end of the story.

After McQuown walked away, a member of a local veterans group stopped 13WMAZ, saying several veterans groups planned to welcome the Marine and help him out when they heard he was coming to Warner Robins. 

But a little research made the groups change their minds.

Googling McQuown's name turns up many stories about his march in numerous cities. Most praise his patriotic mission, except for one in a Virginia newspaper. That's McQuown's home state.

There, a reporter learned about his past and a "bad conduct discharge" from the Marines in 1988. It states that McQuown was discharged for "200 days in unauthorized absences and confinement."

Since that article, McQuown added information on his own website, confirming the bad discharge. It's listed under a section labled "more." McQuown blames what happened on a woman that abused his trust while he was overseas, and says debt lead to his discharge.

He writes, "After reading this, if you feel the need to distance yourself from me or my mission because of my past, I will hold no ill feelings and will wish you God's speed. The Good Lord has wiped my past clean and sees me as a new creature."

McQuown is asking for donations. His website says those are managed through the non-profit and IRS recognized charity, Silver Star Families. That organization helps combat wounded veterans.

It says donations will be used to "assist" McQuown's walk and for general operating expenses of the non-profit group.

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