News: 2 years, 3 deployments: sergeant salutes spouse at colors ceremony
Story by Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - “The initial sight was the best feeling I’ve ever had,” said Sgt. Christopher Prior, a field wireman with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38. “It felt like I (had been away) two years instead of seven months.”
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native, returned from his second deployment – this time from Marjah, Afghanistan, - to the arms of his wife, Paige.
“It was an overwhelming feeling,” explained Prior. “I didn’t have a lot of contact with her while I was there. It was a bittersweet moment when I came home.”
Paige’s dedication through multiple deployments led her husband to compete for the opportunity to honor her and all spouses at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s evening colors ceremony aboard the station May 21.
As part of the 3rd MAW committed and engaged leadership initiative, each month sergeants compete to be the reviewing officer of a morning or evening colors ceremony. The reviewing officer, typically a higher ranking and more experienced officer, is in charge of coordinating the event, including the band, color guard, guest of honor, a speech and all logistical concerns.
As National Military Spouse Appreciation month, the May 21 ceremony honored the sacrifices of military spouses.
“I can count on her no matter what,” said Prior, who explained that it was important to him to be part of a ceremony to salute women like Paige. “Perseverance and loyalty are the leadership traits of the military spouse.”
The intricacies of organizing such a large event proved to be a unique leadership challenge for the sergeant.
“It’s definitely harder than I thought it was going to be,” said Prior. “It’s a lot of moving parts and I’m trying to be in four places at once.”
The experience showed him that there are more leadership opportunities available to young Marines than they might assume.
“It’s all about taking the initiative and understanding where you fit in the big picture,” he explained.
Prior’s leadership lessons don’t end on the battlefield or air station.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my wife is patience,” he said with a smile.
Sgt. Prior’s story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the committed and engaged leaders of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.