As he put it, the skinny kid toughened up serving on a submarine. And that's where met he met a Navy medic and decided he wanted that job, too.
Recently he was home in Madera for his niece's graduation and agreed to talk about his deployment as a medic in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps in 2008. You see, the Marines don't have a medical corps, "So they rely on the Navy corpsman to provide that, they call us the devil-docs because they call themselves the devil-dogs."
And that job required carrying all of his medical gear along with the same weapons as the Marines, "We have to be trained on the same weapons they're trained on because we're depended on not only treat medically but to cover that Marine if he's being fired at, we're expected to fire back."
That year brought the death of one of his fellow corpsman with ties to the Valley, a tough period in that deployment, "I just remember being very sad and down for quite a while."
Back home his niece, Mia, was worried about him. She sent a care package that soon led to hundreds more for his unit and others. Mia explained, "So I just started sending out packages to Afghanistan and to other branches of the military."
"Movement in Action" was born. Organizing it helped ease her fears, and set in motion a home team to support those serving over there, "It's bringing a smile to someone that knows someone far away cares about you and wants you to be safe and thanks you for what you've done."
And that's why this uncle flew home to California for just 72-hours to attend her graduation. He's back now at NAS-Joint Reserve, Fort Worth, Texas.
It won't be the last posting for this service member, his wife and their three children. This decorated medical corpsman is as committed to this job as the day he signed on, "My service to this county, I'm honored by it and I just love serving."