Famous Marines - Orville Richard Burrell
Orville Richard Burrell (aka Shaggy) was born in Jamaica and came to the U.S. (Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York City) when he was 18 to live with his mother and began his music career around the same time.
Orville was born in Kingston, Jamaica on October 22, 1968. Growing up, his friends gave him the nickname “shaggy” because of his untamed hair and after the Scooby Doo cartoon character. While living in Brooklyn and not having much success finding a decent job, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 20 in 1988. Two years later he was sent to Kuwait for five months to support the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm). Not a model Marine, Shaggy earned the rank of LCpl (busted twice) and served as a 0811 (Field Artillery Cannon Crewman) with a Field Artillery Battery with the 5th Battalion, 10th Marines.
After the war, Shaggy spent much of his time stationed at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina, working on his singing career, and returning to New York on the weekends. He was still in the Corps when he cut his first single (Oh Carolina). He was known for his colorful cadence calling while still on active duty.
He had problems with being AWOL (Absent Without Leave – not being where he was supposed to be), mostly due to coming back from New York (recording sessions and nightclub gigs). As he stated in an interview with MilitaryTimes, “Sometimes I got back late. And I’m a guy with a big mouth, and I mouthed off a lot. So, you know, things like that will get you busted.” Shaggy was discharged from the Corps in 1991.
Shaggy is famous for a string of hits in the 1990s such as “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me“. The Grammy-winning artist (Best Reggae Album) has sold more than 30 million albums which included hits like, “Oh Carolina” and “Angel“.
“The first Gulf War was a cakewalk compared to what these guys [in Afghanistan and Iraq] are going through. That said, I saw some traumatic stuff. I can’t forget that. We can’t forget our obligation to help the vets who need help. I want to be part of getting that conversation started and ongoing.” Orville talking about his time stationed in Kuwait.
Today, Shaggy is married (Rebecca Packer) with three kids together. He also has two sons from a previous relationship (Carol Johnson), with one of his sons (Richard O’Neil Burrell) a rapper by the name of Robb Banks. He has become a prominent philanthropist, both in his native Jamaica (Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation), and also on behalf of service members in the American armed forces. Shaggy’s outspoken support for Home Base and other veteran causes has raised the profile of veterans and their families who are in need.
His “Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation” works closely with Bustamante Children’s Hospital (the only full-service children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean) and raises funds via the Shaggy and Friends Concert (a star-studded event held twice a year).
He has released 16 studio albums and has sold over 40 million albums. He states that his military experience made him successful in Reggae and Dancehall
I salute you my brother, Shaggy.