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February 18, 2013

Navy love abounds

Two local sailors attend reenlistment activities

Athens — Thursday was a big day for the U.S. Navy in Malakoff, when two U.S. Navy Sailors were assigned to the Navy Recuiting Station in Athens.

But this is not their first enlistment.  They were reenlisting to further their commitment to serve their country at the ceremony staged at the Malakoff property of Richard Williams, a retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer and his wife, Barbara Williams.

Chief Petty Officer Brandon W. McClain and Petty Officer 1st Class Robert S. Hartnett, who both reside in Mabank were the focus of the reenlistment.

McClain, a Rowlett native who has been serving in the Navy for the past 12 years, reenlisted for six more years.

Hartnett, a local-area native, who has been serving for 16 years, reenlisted for another four years, taking him to the 20-year mark.

A total of 25 future sailors from the Athens recruiting station were also expected to attend the reenlistment with a wealth of other guests.

McClain, 33, is single, and lives in Mabank. During his career thus far, he has been stationed in Dallas, Norfolk, Va., Jacksonville, Fla. and Oahu, Hawaii. He enlisted when he was 21.

“I always wanted to serve my country, and the Navy dealt with travel and aviation,” he said.

As for the ceremony at the home of his friend Richard Williams, he was pleased.

“It was good, and I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was also good training for the future sailors to see that.  They will get the chance to do as I have – to see the world, and do things that most people don’t get the opportunity to see or do.”

Hartnett, 36, currently lives in Mabank with his wife Nicole Hartnett and their three children.  He has been stationed in San Diego, Calif., Pensacola, Fla. and Athens. In San Diego, he was “on and off ships,” including a destroyer and a cruiser.  He has most recently been stationed  at the Athens recruiting station. He joined the Navy in 1996, about two years after graduation from high school.

“It’s just always been good to me.  I never any problems with it.  It’s very structured.  My son is diabetic, and the Navy provides great insurance. I also get to travel the world and see many things that nobody else has ever had the privilege to see before.

As for the ceremony, Hartnett was happy that it went as it did.

“It was a pretty big deal, because it takes me through to my retirement,” he said.

Those new recruits who had only recently enlisted, and waiting to ship off, were also present, and led through drills by McClain. They were William Adams, Christopher Hudgens, Derek Cameron, Thomas Craig, Nathan McNabb, Christopher Tangaro, Caleb Owoputi, Alex Brady, Jakob Crowden, Jeffrey Smith, Justin Bilbao, Andrew Pyle, Paul Nevil, Christopher Pitts, Blake Norris, David Groves, Jordan Glenn, Rodrick Arceneaux, Timothy Glasscock, Alex Garcia, Skyler Burks, Cody Hathcock, Aaron Shugart, Cody Osborn, Jordan White, Mathew Allen and Meagan Powell.

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