MCBAIN — Community support helps Brad Hinton get through deployments.
Hinton, a McBain resident and married father of three, joined the Navy in 2004 after graduating high school, left active duty in 2011 and has been with the Naval Reserves ever since.
Hinton, now a Chief Petty Officer, is currently deployed to the Middle East for the third time.
"What helps us get through deployment is knowing we have tons of support back home from family, loved ones and the local communities," Hinton wrote in an email to the Cadillac News. "We work hard, and put in long hours which helps the time go by."
If he gets a chance to relax today, Hinton, who is from McBain and lives there still when he is not deployed, might play sports.
"With the little time we do have off, we do enjoy playing football and basketball, which is great for team-building," Hinton said.
Hinton says he told recruiting officers in Cadillac back in 2004 that he wanted to learn a trade while fighting for his country.
"The recruiter explained in great detail about the proud tradition of the United States Navy Seabees," Hinton explained. "So I joined as a Construction Electrician."
Another term for "Seabees" is "construction battalion." Hinton works with the NMCB 25 (Naval Mobile Construction Battalion).
"Our usual mission includes humanitarian efforts, vertical construction, and horizontal construction. The majority of our jobs are electricians, utilitiesman, equipment operators, mechanics, engineering aids, builders, welders and various other ratings to support the battalion," Hinton explained.
When he was active duty, Hinton was stationed in Naples, Italy and Gulfort, Mississippi and has been deployed to Afghanistan, Rota, Kuwait, and Peru.
Now that he's in the Reserves, sometimes his work is a little closer to his home in McBain.
"While being in the Naval Reserves, I have worked for Newkirk Electric as a Foreman building, maintaining, and upgrading substations and underground distribution systems all over the Midwest," he explained.
Hinton says he's proud of what he does.
"As a CB we are honored to uphold and keep the traditions going that the tens of thousands have strived to achieve long before us," he wrote.