View Full Version : From Iraq to brother's 8th grade graduation

06-24-05, 05:33 AM
From Iraq to brother's 8th grade graduation

Graduation is a memorable milestone by itself to anyone.

But for at least one Brock Elliott School student who graduated Thursday night, this important high-water mark was made even more memorable by the presence of his brother who has served two stints as a U.S. Navy medic attached to the Marines Corps in war-torn Iraq.
"Marcus is just ecstatic about Bryan coming," Sue Hinkle said Thursday, describing the reaction of her younger son, Marcus Stelle, to having his older brother, a U.S. Navy Corpsman, come and watch him receive his eighth-grade diploma.

Graduation ceremonies for Brock Elliott School eighth graders were held in the gym at Sierra High School where Bryan graduated in 2001 and where Marcus, Sue's son with husband Brian, also will attend starting this fall.

Bryan Hinkle, who is simply called "Doc Hinkle" at Camp Pendleton where he is currently stationed, is a U.S. Navy medic who was attached to a Marine unit while in Iraq.

"I was with a grunt unit," he said.

His first tour of duty was in 2003, returning to the United States in November of that year. He was deployed to Iraq for the second time last year, and came back home in September. Each stint lasted nine months.

While in Iraq, "he was all over -- I know he was in Korkuk and Baghdad" with the special forces, said Sue Hinkle of the places where her son had been in the war-torn country.

She admitted to "freaking out" the first time she learned her son was being sent to Iraq.

"I didn't like the fact that he was going there knowing that he was going with the Marines, and the Marines are known to be front line," she said.

"But he had no choice about going there," she added.

The day he left for Iraq was the day his wife, Rosemary, who is also a Navy medic, broke to him the news that she was pregnant with their first baby. She had found out about the baby on Valentine's Day. "That was his send-off the first time he went to Iraq," Sue Hinkle said.

Her son and his wife are expecting their second child at the end of the year.

The second time Bryan was deployed was even "worse, a lot of people were killed on both sides, and a gentleman that he had gone to school with -- his last name was Johnson -- who was also a 'doc,' was killed," Sue Hinkle said.

"We just let him tell us what he wants us to know (about the war in Iraq) because it was devastating," she said.

But she is aware that he was in a number of "scary situations." One incident happened while he was in a humvee with other American soldiers. The window was down. All of a sudden, a "missle or projectile came through the window and exploded." A soldier sitting in front of him was hit by shrapnel in the eye and lost his eye.

"He got a commendation and an award for that, so he's pretty proud of that," said Sue Hinkle of her son's actions during that particular incident.

Bryan Hinkle and his family are currently living in Temecula where they have purchased a house. He is now getting ready to attend a Dive-Medical Technician School in Florida in Florida early next year.

He attended Brock Elliott and later went to Sierra High where he played football and basketball. He was also an Eagle Scout.

He and his wife married while in boot camp in 2002. Both are medics in the U.S. Navy. She is known as a Blue Navy assigned to Camp Pendleton Hospital; he serves as a Green Navy, which is the color distinction for Navy medics serving with the Marines.

While in Manteca, he and his wife also will be attending the wedding of a close friend of Bryan who is getting married this Saturday.

The Navy Corpsman said he is happy to be able to attend his brother's gradation.

"I had planned just to come here for the wedding but then my mom told me that he (Marcus) is going to be graduating. I'm glad he invited me, and I'm glad he's graduating in the high school where I went," Bryan Hinkle said.