Clint’s military experience was bipartite. In the beginning, he joined as an active duty Marine. Young, eager, and ready for battle when the events of 9/11 sent him to war. Clint was of the first forces to cross the boarder into Iraq: the 7th Marines. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” left the 22 year old with quite a narrative of that time. Time marking events such as the freeing of the Baghdad Airport, witnessing the Jessica Lynch rescue, seeing first-hand the fall of the infamous statue of Saddam Hussein, he easily recalls. Along with the unspoken losses, fears during gunfire, and the hard to imagine cultural differences, forever leave an impression that only those who experience can understand.
His next go around was seven years later. This time, Clint joined as a Combat Engineer with the Marine Corps Reserves. Forthwith, he was activated for deployment. Having not only a Sergeant, but one that had actual combat experience proved to be an invaluable asset to the 6th ESB. “Operation Enduring Freedom” was a mental contrast to his first deployment. Yes, the physical dangers, stress, and fear were there; yet he had a family to return home to this time. Getting married to me, having a daughter he was building a relationship with, not to mention he had only had a mere few weeks with his son.
In combination with loosing a close friend while overseas, the wounds of this deployment are not seen. Upon returning home, the pressure to lead his family, most certainly in our spirituality was imperative. I was a “cradle Catholic”, and he had grown up as I call a Christian “mutt”. He did not know too much about Catholicism, but what he thought he knew, he did not like. In my stubbornness not to simply leave my Catholic roots, he began the battle to try and prove me wrong. Needless to say, he not only became Catholic, but one of the most ardent, zealous Catholics I have ever met. Clint’s devotion to our Lady has been a pillar to our growing family. Now with five children, the Angelus, various Litanies, as well as the Rosary are said daily.
Once a warrior for our country, Clint is now a warrior spiritually. The Combat Rosary embodies both. Reminding him of the physical battle he was in twice, and of the spiritual battle that we face daily.
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