Lamai Hill hugs her husband U.S. Marine John Hill
June 13, 2012 - My husband, Lance Corporal John Hill, joined the
U.S. Marine Corps when we just began dating in ‘05, at the age of
18. He trained in the School of Infantry where he became a machine
gunner and from there, was stationed in Twentynine Palms,
California. We got married in January ‘06 and I moved from a small
town in Southwest Missouri to California. A place I thought sounded
beachy and tropical, I soon discovered that it was indeed sandy,
just not the “sandy” I had expected. The dessert was the complete
opposite of what I had in mind.
That summer my husband
trained to deploy. He trained with his first unit the 3rd Battalion
4th Marines Weapons Company. Then, last minute before Mojave Viper
he switched to the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines H&S Company M.A.P.
(Mobile Assault Platoon) Platoon. That August they deployed to Al-Qa'im,
Iraq on an “extended” deployment for 9 months. I can't even begin to
describe what he and his unit went through, what they saw, and what
did. I just know that they did their job and they did their job
well. Something that neither I nor any other civilian
would ever understand. What I do understand is that war
is something that you must experience firsthand in order to fully
know what it means. My husband participated in sleepless nights,
illness, missions, patrols, firefights, and was hit by several
Being a machine gunner, lead machine gunner at that, his
permanent seat was up in the turret of the Humvee, he was
jolted a lot while hit by IED's. This caused him to break
his back in two places, and TBI (traumatic brain injury) but
still he pressed on without complaining or seeking medical
attention, finishing out the deployment. Upon his return in
2007, he was eventually diagnosed with TBI, PTSD, and his
broken back was confirmed. He struggled a lot with the
transition of being home but we always put it in the back of
our minds. Soon after, I became pregnant with our first son.
January 16, 2008 our world came crashing down when I
gave birth to a four pound, nine ounce baby boy. He was
stillborn. Though my husband and I were already going
through a lot during that time, post deployment, I never
seen pain in my Marine's eyes, even considering he was in a
lot of pain due to his back, until the day we lost our son.
But even so, I never stopped acknowledging that my husband
was a father, he was the daddy to an angel, and I was proud
of him and still am to this day.
Two years after the
loss of our son, my husband was finally Med boarded and
Medically Retired from the Marine Corps. Today, four years
later, he has been and still is receiving service-connected
benefits from the VA, which we couldn't be more grateful
for. Our son would be hour and half years old now and we
miss him dearly every day. He has taught us both things
about life that we would have never been able to teach him.
It took us years to even consider having another child, and
we are now expecting twins at the end of July! Through all
the trials and tribulations that we have faced in our six
and a half years of marriage, we always managed to stay
strong every step of the way. The military lifestyle taught
us that. I know our twins will be just as proud of their
daddy as both I, and their brother in Heaven are!
By Lamai Hill
Department of Veterans Affairs - Vantage Point
About Author: Lamai Hill is John's fulltime caregiver with
support from VA's Caregiver program. For fun she enjoys playing
golf, walking their French Bulldog, and gardening. The couple reside
in reside Nevada, Missouri.
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