Story by Cpl Sabrina Candiaflores on 04/23/2019MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (April 11, 2019) Everyone has a story about why they decided to join the military and specifically, the Marine Corps.
Capt. Robert Attebury, a KC-130 Hercules pilot assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron (VMGR) 252, began his story when he was a senior in high school and his grandfather passed away. His grandfather received full military honors because he was a World War II Veteran. In that moment, Attebury was touched and knew he wanted to serve his country.
"It just kind of hit home for me," stated the Claremore, Oklahoma native. "Seeing that respect and after all those years of him not even talking about military service. I was just like, man I need to do something. I need to do my part for at least 4 years.'"
Attebury started his journey as a Marine Corps Combat Photographer, in July 2003 when he shipped off to boot camp. He reported to his first duty station, 2nd Marine Division Combat Camera in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and soon after, deployed as a photographer to Iraq for a year. Attebury decided to reenlist with the incentive that he would become a Defense Information School (DINFOS) Instructor where he taught young service members their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS); photo journalism and intermediate combat photography.
While at DINFOS, Attebury was given the opportunity to submit a Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Educational Program (MECEP) application and was selected. He then attended University of Oklahoma and decided he wanted to become a pilot so he pursued his aviation professional pilot degree and commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in 2010.
During Attebury's time at DINFOS, he had the opportunity to attend the Army's Basic Airborne Course where he jumped out of C-130's and became a successful paratrooper. This experience helped Attebury determine what aircraft he would fly for the Marine Corps.
"C-130's were something I always wanted to fly because I jumped out of them and had an appreciation for what they do." Stated Attebury.
CWO2 Chance Haworth, MCAS Yuma's Communication, Strategy and Operations Visual Information Officer, was also an instructor at DINFOS with Attebury and saw his Marine Corps journey through. He seen him as Staff Sgt. Attebury and now, a successful Capt. Attebury.
"Everything in the Marine Corps is earned, nothing is given and he knew that's what he wanted to do and he really earned it," said Haworth. "I couldn't be more proud of that Marine."
Attebury only planned to do 4 years in the Marine Corps but here he is, 16 years later with many accomplishments and lifelong friends.
"The C-130 community is awesome and in fact, if I stay in past my 20 years, it'll be because of that community," explained Attebury. "I want to stick around people like that."