Sunday, December 16, 2007

Graduation Gathering

Kimberly is graduating tomorrow from nursing school and the family has made the trip out. Grandma Kathleen and Papa Joe, Grandma Katherine (Mimi), and Grandpa Jim and Lupe all came out to celebrate. We all went out and had a huge dinner last night. We are getting together today to have a nice dinner at the house. Tom and Allison have come as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is coming! The girls are all excited. We are getting the house decorated in anticipation of Santa to arrive. We also have family flying in for Kimberly's graduation. She has one more test (tomorrow) and she will be done. Say a prayer for her. Here are a few pictures of the girls decorating the tree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good bye, Uncle Dick

I received a call this Saturday from my father. His voice was strange and to the point. It consisted of the basics: "Hi, this is dad. Your uncle Dick was in a motorcycle accident and is in critical condition at the hospital. I'm heading to Monterey right now. Please pray for him and the family." The call was short but the weight of it was enormous.

I haven't been "home" too much since graduating from highschool and heading off into the world. Growing up, I spent every Christmas and most Thanksgivings in the Monterey area with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My grandmother is Philipino and the feasts we had were huge. These days I am thankful if I am even with my wife and kids during the holidays or special occasions. I can't remember the last time I spent a holiday with all my aunts, uncles and cousins. I've spoken to them on the phone from across the nation. My father makes sure that everyone has a chance to speak with me. I miss the old days.

My uncle, Richard Whitworth, 62, later succomed to his injuries that evening. He was participating in a Christmas charity ride, along with 300 other riders, for children's toys in Carmel, California. He was struck from behind by an absent minded driver of an SUV trying to pass the pack of motorcyclists.

Mary Ann, Ricky, Cheryl, and Shelly - our thoughts and prayers are with you! Uncle Dick - I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye but we love you and thank you for blessing our lives while you were with us. We will meet again.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving To ALL!

Today we recognize all the blessings that God has given us and to give Himthanks! I would also like to thank all those who have given to me throughout my life. There are way too many to mention each and everyone and I would invariably end up missing quite a few. So, to my family, friends, and to those that have contributed in some way to the lives of me and my family, Thank You and God Bless.

And a special note to all those who have given their lives to make this country what it is today; from our founding fathers to the men and women who have given their lives throught the globe today. Thank you. And thank you to all the men and women (and their families) who are away from home and away from their families and have sacrifced some of their freedoms so that you and I can have our turkey and watch the Colts trample over the Falcons this afternoon. God Bless and come home safe!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Goodbye Megan McClung

Last night I was reading a list of those killed in action in support of the war on terrorism. My heart sank, chills ran up and down my spine, and I began to get that warm sweat that accompanies that quick rush of adrenaline as I stopped on a picture of someone I actually knew personally. She was killed almost a year ago, just after I had returned from Iraq. She will certainly be missed by all. Rest easy, Megan - we'll meet again.

Major Megan M. McClung (April 14, 1972– December 6, 2006) was the first female United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat during the Iraq War. Maj McClung was serving as a public affairs officer in Al Anbar Province, Iraq when she was killed.

McClung, of Coupeville, Washington, was born and raised in Orange County, California, graduating from Mission Viejo High School before going on to attend the U.S. Naval Academy where she received her officer's commission in 1995. McClung competed as a gymnast in high school and in college. She was a triathlete (having competed in six Ironman competitions) and a marathoner. In October 2006, she organized and ran in the Marine Corps Marathon's satellite competition in Iraq.

In January 2006, McClung was deployed to Iraq as a public affairs officer with the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). In December 2006, she was in the final month of a yearlong deployment to Iraq.

On December 6, 2006, McClung was serving with the I Marine Expeditionary Force as the Marine Corps head of public affairs for Al Anbar Province, in charge of embedded journalists. Earlier in the day, she had been accompanying Oliver North with his Fox News camera crew in Ramadi. She subsequently was escorting Newsweek journalists into downtown Ramadi. A massive improvised explosive device (IED) destroyed McClung's Humvee, instantly killing McClung and the other two occupants. The Newsweek journalists were not injured.

Major McClung was the first female graduate of the United States Naval Academy to be killed in action since the school's foundation in 1845.

Major McClung was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on December 27, 2006.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to Work!

I've been on vacation for the last week and it is almost time to pick up another group of young men to transform into United States Marines. They are already starting to trickle into the squad bays. This Saturday morning, I will be introducing them to their Drill Instructors. And, for the next couple of weeks, everyone (recruits and Staff included) will be blasting on all 8 cylinders at red line RPM with very little sleep in order to break these civilians down to their most empirical state to then build them up into basically trained Marines. It is impressive to see the level of dedication and professionalism it takes to do the job of a Marine Drill Instructor. It is one of the most demanding jobs in the Marine Corps. It is humbling to see them work and to perform at such high levels day after day, with no days off, for 3 months straight.

I have been very fortunate in my Marine Corps career to experience many different things, see many different places and cultures, and to fly the most lethal piece of gear in the Marine Corps arsenal in peacetime and in combat. However, the most rewarding peacetime experience I have had thus far is the opportunity to lead and work with some of the Corps finest Marines and to have a positive impact on the future of the Marine Corps. I will only have another few weeks until my replacement shows up and takes over the reins of Lead Series Commander of Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. However, I will return to the cockpit a better Marine Officer with a great respect for the work that goes on here at MCRD Parris Island.

My hat also goes off to the spouses and children of these hard working DIs. They sacrifice so much so that their husbands and fathers can pour their life's blood into the future generation of our Corps. The sad part is that they are all to often hidden in the shadows with little recognition of their sacrifices and support. There isn't enough to be said about the families of any service member and the support and value they add to any military unit and indirectly to the security of our nation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blue Angel Flight

A close friend of mine sent me this link to a Blue Angel pilot giving a media demonstration ride in one of the Blue Angel's F/A-18's. It is an awesome set of video clips and shows a little bit of what it is like to fly in a tactical aircraft. And as some who does this for a living, I can honestly tell you it is a blast!

However, shivers went down my spine when I read the name of the pilot that was giving the demonstration. LtCmdr Kevin Davis was tragically killed April 21, 2007 while performing at the MCAS Beaufort, SC airshow. My father, wife, two children and I were there. Our hearts went out for him and his family that day. Our hearts still go out for the men and women in uniform that have given their lives for the security of our Nation and to those Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen that continue to serve around the world.

Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis
United States Navy
Blue Angel #6 - Opposing Solo

Happy Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

232nd Birthday of the Marine Corps

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

- Gen John A. Lejune, 13th Comandant of the Marine Corps

Happy 232nd Birthday MARINES!