Chuck and Marie Mosley dreamed of leaving a legacy to their youngest son. They didn’t expect it to be war.
Today, they wear buttons with a picture of their son, a Marine on the front lines in the Gulf.
Chuck Mosley Sr., a Marine veteran, fought in Vietnam. Since then, he has gone to college, created a company and worked to build a business for his son to take over some day.
At the height of the war this month, Mosley, 42, said: “My fear is my son may not be here to carry on my legacy. We, as black people, do not leave legacies. That’s really been my whole essence in grooming and raising him, to leave him something to grab onto and expand upon.”
After he left the Marine Corps 17 years ago, Mosley got a bachelor’s degree in business management. In 1986, he and a partner formed the Costa Mesa company Balloons by Design, which creates custom displays for corporate and commercial clients.
Mosley said he had often talked with his son, the youngest of four children, about running the company.
Instead, at age 19, the young man followed his father’s footsteps into the Marines, using a delayed entry program even before he graduated from Saddleback College.
The path was well worn. At the same age, Chuck and Marie Mosley’s daughter Annette had joined the Army, abruptly dropping out of Rancho Santiago College.
Today, Annette McIntyre, the mother of two, is in a reserve unit in Germany, on stand-by for duty in the Gulf.
But it is Chuck Jr. whom the Mosleys worry about most, because he has been in the battlefront.
“Before he went, we had a long talk about, ‘Why him?’ ” Mosley senior said he told his son that the Lord may be preparing him for some other hardship in life with the combat experience.
On a recent lunch-hour trip to her Santa Ana home to check the mail, Marie Mosley, 46, a supervisor at Comast Cable, found a note in which her son talked about being “scared and excited all at the same time.”
“Scared, just thinking about what could happen to me. Excited, because of the experience I’m about to go through and because I get to go to the crib (home) after this mess.”
The Mosleys said they are happy that their children chose to join the armed forces because the skills and benefits they receive will help them the rest of their lives.
And their son’s letters have been a particular source of pride.
“Chuckie is my hero,” Mosley senior said. “My son is my hero.”