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ARLINGTON, Va. — Martial-arts fans know him as the man who is synonymous with “roundhouse kick.” Internet users know him as the man who possesses supernatural powers, such as being able to cure cancer with his tears.

Now Chuck Norris is also known as an honorary Marine.

Marine Corps Commandant James Conway bestowed the honor last week to Norris, an actor and martial-artist. He is the first person to be made an honorary Marine by Conway.

“This is not something that is done lightly,” said Marine Col. Frank McKenzie, military secretary to the commandant. “This is not something that is done on the spur of the moment. There is a process to it, and we jealously guard it.”

Norris has several movie and television roles to his credit, including the lead role in “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

But Norris is perhaps best known by younger Marines for his alleged powers —- claims like “Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there” — as referenced on several Web sites.

Marines downrange get a kick out of Norris’ fictional powers, said McKenzie, who used some of the one-liners about Norris in his briefings and e-mails when he was a commander in Iraq.

“It kind of lightens the load in their pack, gives them a little bit of humor,” McKenzie said.

Norris was chosen to receive the honor because of his support for wounded Marines as well as Marines in theater. During a trip to Iraq last year, Norris was a “smash hit” with Marines downrange, McKenzie said.

In a statement from his publicist, Norris said he was “speechless” when Conway told him he had been named an honorary Marine.

“As a former airman in the U.S. Air Force, the military has always been very close to me,” Norris said. “It turned my life around. It helped me get on the right path.

“To all of our service men and women, I salute you. I support you, and I am so proud to now, in a small way, be one of you.”


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