USA Patriotism! ... "Showcasing Pride of America"USA Store! ... American / Patriotic themed gift products at USA Patriotism!

Home - Articles - USA's Birth - Great Patriots - Heroes - Honor Halls - Music - Photos
Poems - Quotes - Reference - Speeches - Stars for Troops - Stories - Student Patriots
Videos - New Content
- About - Contact - Submit - Press
- CureNow - Donate
- Privacy

Click Here To Google Search
 For USA Patriotism! Content
USA Patriotism! YouTube Channel Join / Like the USA Patriotism! Facebook pagePinterestLinkedInUSA Patriotism! Instagram ChannelUSA Patriotism! On TwitterUSA Patriotism! at Flickr

Patriotic Article

Collectibles, apparel, and other gifts ... for Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and veterans! Checks with USA, military, and other patriotic designs Free Gifts from The Bradford Exchange Online

Airman Swims To Honor His Father
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Charles Rivezzo - July 16, 2015

USA Flag Coverings
Satute of Liberty / Flag Mugs and Steins

 USA, military, and other patriotic themed pullover and button down Polo shirts

USA Flag and other American Theme Caps and Hats

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CA – In the early hours of June 21, 2015 ... Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Mujica took to the chilly waters off Alcatraz Island and swam a mile and a half to the Crissy Field shoreline with one thing in mind... to honor his father on Father's Day

Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Mujica participated in the June 21, 2015, Alcatraz Challenge swim in San Francisco to raise money for research into a neuromuscular disease that affects his father. (Courtesy photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Mujica)
Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Mujica participated in the June 21, 2015, Alcatraz Challenge swim in San Francisco to raise money for research into a neuromuscular disease that affects his father. (Courtesy photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Mujica)

Wearing a full-body wetsuit and hoodie, the 38-year-old noncommissioned officer in charge of product improvement for the 60th Maintenance Group here battled currents, winds, waves, chop and frigid waters during the Alcatraz Challenge triathlon.

Mujica said when he arrived here in 2000 that he immediately became "addicted" to California's triathlon circuit, competing in one or two events a month during the season.

A Personal Cause

But for the first time in his competitive career, the Georgia native was racing June 21 for much more than a time goal or a medal. He was racing to raise funds for a deeply personal cause: his father, Noberto Mujica, who was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis disease, better known as MG, in 2008.

MG is a chronic neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of muscle weakness. For his father, Mujica said, the disorder affects everything from chewing and talking to simple facial expressions and walking.

"It's a tough disease to see," he added. "Witnessing how this has affected him over the years, I just wanted to do something more to help."

About a week before the event, Mujica said, he searched the Internet for ways to raise funds for MG research and share his story. By the day of the event, he had raised nearly $600. "It just so happened that this race was on Father's Day,” he said, “and I thought this would be a great opportunity to honor him."

A Difficult Swim

For 56 minutes and 53 seconds, Mujica honored his father in the cloud-covered waters of the San Francisco Bay, enduring what he called the most difficult swim he had ever done.

"It's a little bit intimidating, because you have nothing to support you out there," he said. "At one point, you are three-quarters of a mile away from any shoreline. It's just you and the water, and there is definitely no bottom of the pool to be looking at."

Though he's accustomed to the physical exhaustion associated with open-water swims, the whitecap waves crashing down on him made it difficult for him to breathe and get into a rhythm, Mujica said. On that day, he added, he relied on something more than experience and training. He relied on his father's strength.

"Whenever I would get tired and needed that extra motivation, I'd think about him," he said. "He gave me the strength to push a little harder."

Last Time

Mujica did not compete in the run portion of the Alcatraz Challenge. He just wanted to simply complete the swim one more time before his impending move to a new duty assignment, he explained.

"I started to kick myself when I saw the runners on the drive home," he said with a laugh. "But I just wanted to do the swim one last time. I'll probably never be swimming from Alcatraz Island again, so I just wanted to take my time, soak it all in and enjoy the view of the Golden Gate [Bridge] from the middle of the bay."

After arriving on the shoreline of Crissy Field, all that was left was a simple text and phone call to his father.

"He was proud," Mujica said. "I just wanted to raise awareness about MG any way I could [and] to inspire others to try and do the same. This was my way of honoring my father on Father's Day."

By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Charles Rivezzo
DOD News / Defense Media Activity
Copyright 2015

Comment on this article

USA Gifts Store! ... over 1,000 American / Patriotic themed products at USA Patriotism! USA / Americana theme ... polo shirts, t-shirts, shorts, hats, caps, swimwear, sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, jackets, under garments, and other apparel items American Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. Bancroft