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franklin county times

Patriotism marks NAS Meridian

By By William F. West / community editor
July 3, 2002
A spirit of patriotism wafts like a refreshing summer breeze over civilian and military personnel stationed at NAS Meridian.
It punctuates their work day, occupies their thoughts and underscores their readiness to rally in defense of freedom. During this Fourth of July season, it also brings back memories, sometimes painful.
Routt was one of several people interviewed at NAS about their perspectives on this year's Independence Day.
1st Lt. Trish Ruf, the new executive officer of Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron 1, doesn't mince words.
Ruf, 31, an upstate New Yorker transplanted to the deep South, said this year's Fourth of July is "probably one of the Fourth of July's that is going to mean a lot more to me because I was actually over in Afghanistan protecting our freedom, protecting this great nation that I have been serving over 13 years."
Freedom means a lot'
Of the judges that made the decision, she said, "maybe they're unconstitutional." She suggested that maybe she needs to throw away the money in her wallet, too, because it carries the printed slogan "In God We Trust."
Ruf served as an aviation supply officer at Qandahar Airport, and she was there the night of the Jan. 10 U.S. attack, which occurred only 150 yards from the compound where she was stationed.
She has been at NAS Meridian less than a month.
Staff Sgt. Scott Frost is an aviation supply instructor at Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron 1.
Frost, 32, of Athens, Ohio, was working in aviation supply at Okinawa, Japan, on Sept. 11. He said the stringent restrictions that resulted from the attacks on the U.S. made him and his fellow soldiers "refocus on freedom.''
A little bit more special'
Lt. Cmdr. Bradley "Doc" Burgess is chief staff officer of Training Air Wing 1. Bradley, 39, of Joplin, Mo., was on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which on Sept. 11 was stationed off the coast of Pakistan.
Bradley saw the television footage of the World Trade Center's North Tower on fire after it was struck by a hijacked airliner, then he saw the live footage of the South Tower being struck by another hijacked airliner.
I feel pretty proud'
Burgess, who joined the Navy in 1986, is stationed at NAS Meridian for the second time. He said he joined the Navy because he wanted to serve in the military and because of a love of flying.
How far we've come'
I'm proud to be an American and to fight for this country," said Ensign John Lynn, 25, a student naval aviator from Pittsburgh.
Lynn, who has been in the Navy a year and a half, said that it is "tough right now as a student because we can't see the bigger picture."
I love my country'
Robert Dalton, 29, of Hillsboro, N.J., is an aircraft mechanic. He served in the Navy for six years and is currently employed by Boeing.
The coming days will also be special for Dalton and his wife, who is from Vicksburg and expecting to give birth to a baby boy any day now. The couple has a 4-year-old daughter, Amelia Grace.
John Nguyen, 20, an airman apprentice from Fairfax, Va., comes across as low-key, but for him freedom has a particularly special meaning because his family is from Vietnam.

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