This week, I had the honor of photographing a US Marines retirement ceremony here in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Gunnery Sergeant Billingsley has served 20 years in the Marine Corps and was surrounded by his wonderful family, friends, and fellow Marines.
His wife Nancy was just the sweetest and I’ll admit that I teared up a bit when she walked onto the field to receive her appreciation award. My husband, Logan, turned in his retirement notice on this same day so my emotions may have been a bit high. I love the Marine Corps and all it has given our family. Sure, there are plenty of tough times- I learned that Gunnery Sergeant Billingsley was a former Drill Instructor, so I know the time he spent away from his family making Marines was tough on Nancy and his children. However, those tough times come with amazing adventures, a unique USMC family, and experiences most people never get to have.
Gunny Billingsley and family, I wish you the best in this new chapter of your life. I know the unknown can seem daunting at times, but judging by the support of your family and friends that I witnessed this day, I think you’re going to be just fine. Congratulations, and thank you for your service!