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Seven-year-old Andrew Starr II always dreamed of becoming a Marine, just like his father, a retired Marine colonel. Sadly, this dream seemed out of reach, as when he was just nine months old, Andrew was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along nerves in the skin and brain.

But on Monday, the unlikely dream became a reality at Starr's home in Springfield, Va., Andrew received the title of "Honorary Marine" from Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, who endorsed Andrew's honorary package because of the boy's attitude and selfless focus. In doing so, Andrew becomes one of less than 100 people to receive the title since its inception in 1992.

“I’m just so happy,” Andrew said. “I’m a Marine like my dad.”

Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla, director of operations for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps, presents Andrew Starr II with an honorary Marine certificate on June 30, at Starr’s home in Springfield, Va. Andrew’s father, retired Marine Col. Andrew Starr, watched as his son, the second recipient of the title this year, received the award.Cpl. Samuel Ellis

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