Black Bear Learns Valuable Lesson – Don’t Mess With A Marine

 In Domestic, Veterans

Not as lean, twice as mean, ALWAYS a Marine! One California black bear may think twice before again attacking a combat Marine.

There is no expiration on the Eagle Globe & Anchor proudly worn by every United States Marine. Larry Yepez is 66 years old. He is a ‘seasoned citizen’ who has seen a lot and survived even more. Yepez is a Marine who served in Vietnam where he was awarded a Purple Heart. Yepez is a survivor.


Larry Yepez – U.S. Marine – photo via


Never Ever Quit!!

The lessons taught at Parris Island stay with Marines forever. From learning how to field strip and clean a weapon, to fire team and squad tactics, arguably the most valuable lesson taught is to ‘Never Ever Quit!’ The words ‘surrender’ or ‘give up’ are not known to Marines.

Last Thursday Yepez came face to face with a black bear. Where lesser men would give up, Yepez fought back outside his home around 4:00 am.

Yepez reports the 250 pound bear appeared out of nowhere and then charged, knocking him on his back. Yepez said,

“I could hear the crunching when he bit down (on my wrist). “He ripped towards my neck and then again the belly.”

Yepez had only one option, FIGHT! And fight he did, saying,

“I could feel the blood running out of me. That’s when I decided, ‘I’ve got to fight, man.’”

And Yepez wasn’t the only one. His 10 pound Yorkshire Terrier, Benji, wanted a piece of the bear.

As Yepez punched and kicked at the bear, even using his legs to push the bear off his chest, the small but fearless dog distracted the bear long enough for Yepez to break out of its deadly clutches. Yepez said,

“The bear turned around and swatted at the dog. And that gave us just enough time to get back in and slam the door.”

The bear charged the door but eventually gave up, leaving Yepez and Benji, alone as it slowly walked back into the woods.

‘It’s Just a scratch….’

With blood flowing from wounds on his face and stomach, Yepez had seen worse saying,

“I got shot through this wrist, and I got hit here in the foot, and I got some shrapnel metal here in the back.”

If Vietnam didn’t kill him, this combat Marine was not about to let some bear ruin his day. No ambulance for him, Yepez drove himself to the hospital, got fixed up and returned home Saturday morning.

Asked how he felt about the experience, Yepez said,

“I’m not a bear hater. I believe we live in the bears’ habitat up here in the mountains. But like the game warden says, if it had been a little kid who got attacked, he’d be dead right now.”

“I realize I’m a lucky human being.”

California Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident. According to Officers when the bear is found, it will be humanely destroyed.

With his bare hands and an assist from a 10 pound Yorkshire terrier, he fends off an angry bear. That’s the Marine Corps ‘Never Quit, Do or Die’ attitude.

Semper Fi, Marine.

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