Submitted by Perry Lundin
Eglin Joint Base Command located near Ft. Walton, Florida, is presently the largest Military Complex in the world and encompasses a large contingent of Air Force units, Naval Warfare units, and the 7th Army Special Forces and 6th Army Rangers.
My home is exactly 5 miles outside the main gate of Eglin AFB. Most folks in the USA don't live in a Military Town, with lots of guys in uniform walking the streets and jets over head daily. They go on with their lives unaware of what a Military Town is all about. And that's OK .... but I want to share with you what it's like to live in a Military Town. We see guys in uniform all the time, we have state of the art, high performance aircraft in the air nearby all day long. We hear the SOUND OF FREEDOM when an F-22, or F-35 streaks over the house ..... and we read in the local paper, some times daily, but at least weekly, of the loss of one of our own in combat in the Middle East. And that is what brings me to the reason for this email.
Staff Sergeant Mark DeAlencar was 37 years old, had a family and was a Green Beret with the 7th Army Special Forces stationed here in the Fort Walton area. He was killed on April 8, 2017 while fighting Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. In January of this year, he was deployed for the second time to Afghanistan. He promised his adopted daughter, Octavia, that he would be home for her High School Graduation. He didn't make it. But she went to graduation anyway. And in the audience were eighty (80) US 7th Army Special Forces soldiers from her dad’s unit in full Parade Dress Uniform. Additionally, they brought THEIR FAMILIES to be with them, as well.
As Octavia ascended the steps to the stage to receive her diploma THEY ALL SILENTLY STOOD UP. And when she was presented her diploma they ALL CHEERED, CLAPPED , WHISTLED .... and YES CRIED. Everyone in attendance then stood up and cried and cheered. Octavia had graduated and yes she had lost her Dad .... but she had 80 other DADS to stand there with her and take his place.
I just wanted to share this moment with you ..... and remind you that THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN A MILITARY TOWN. THIS is the real America we all love ..... and I'm proud to be part of it. May God bless our men and women in uniform and their families who give so much.
(Take a second to pass this along to someone you know. It's the least we can do for Octavia and SSgt Mark DeAlencar, 7th Special Forces, United States Army.)