ET2 SW John Hoaland

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ET2 SW John Hoaland

Postby SMAbby » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:01 am

This will be the last I post of this,as John was laid to rest on Thursday in Killeen, Tx.
I just got home and had a chance to review the ceremony that as a mother I hope to not have to see again. Things came together well. The mother, Cynthia Kimbal, requested my son be shipped in from Japan to Dover to receive John and escort him home. My son, ET3 Dan Burkett, then spent most of his time comforting the family that had arrived for the service. I stood in the background and just watched at this young man who was tasked to do probably the most difficult job in the world, was up lifting this family with funny stories of his times with John.
We had dinner with the family and learned so much about them. They are great people. The mom is as strong as a rock. She is a nurse and you could see that her strength was to hold it together for her family. I fear she will hit a wall at some point and I hope someone will be there for her. The father who is an E-6 in the army was also strong and in control.
We had a great time that night telling stories and just listening to what the family had to share.
The next day was the tough day. My son was so worried about his task and his eulogy that he hadnt slept that night.....or the night before I would find out later. As he stood before me in the door jam of the hotel, the sunlight gleaming off of his dress whites all I could do was smile at what this 20 year old had become despite me. I gave him a hug, straightened up his gig line, kissed him and told him I was proud of him. I told him if he gets stuck, speak from the heart and you can never go wrong. Look at the family so they can feel you and do the best that you can.

The eulogy was beautiful. It talked about how they had been waiting for their instructor to open the class one day. When the instructor arrived he asked John where he was from. As my son tells it, John puffed out his chest and declared that he was from the greatest country in the world....Texas. Everybody laughed except for John. The instructor then asked John, are you sure you dont mean State? To which John replied, No, sir, I meant what I said.
This is one of the stories that make me feel like I missed out on meeting such a great youngman. Every story was uplifting and could only make you smile.

My son choked up a few time, but he was able to carry on. One thing he said that stuck with me was as steel sharpens steel,, man sharpens man. John never put anyone down and always lifted people up, John is still sharpening me to be a better man.

The grave side service was as emotional as anyone would expect. The salute was give, Taps was played and the flag was folded. The Chaplin gave the flag off of the coffin to Cynthia. Chief gave another folded flag to dad. Dan was tasked with giving the flag to the 16 year old sister, Hanah. He knew the lines....I knew he knew them and so did the family. He had rehearsed them for 3 days. As he was on bended knee holding the flag for Hanah to hold with him he uttered the beginning of the phrase...."On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation Please accept............" At this point Hanah broke down into little sobs. Dan knew hannah from the talks with John and from visiting with her for 3 days. I saw my son lower his head for a split second, lifted his head and had a small smirk come across his face. Now, mom is completely convinced he did this on purpose. I dont care and dont want to ask. But after lifting his head to this sobbing little girl, he swallowed hard, smirked, looked into Hannah's weary eyes and said " I forgot my lines..........so......can you please take this flag" to which Hanah began to laugh as if a burden had been lifted.....a burden of seriousness that was to heavy for a child.
We spent that afternoon with the family, having drinks, pitching horseshoes, eating and listening to stories of John.
We all slept in on Friday as we all had big trips on Saturday. In the afternoon we met up with mom,dad and the sisters and played pool and listened to music.

Irony is a crazy thing. We will never understand it. The day before John passed, he was to be pinned ESWS. It is something that you only get from months/years of hard work and dedication. It basically says that you can run or atleast understand how all systems on the ship work. He did this in 6 months time. That night John stopped his Chief in tha passageway and asked if the Chief would pin him. Its an honor to do that and the Chief said he would. The Chief spoke at the eulogy. He said that normally John would still be working on stuff in the shop, John was a work horse, but that night he was feeling ill, so he turned into his rack early. At the time of collision, he would normally have been working away in his shop........

I continue to wonder why things like this to wonderful people who have raised a well rounded, smart and giving son.

All of this is public. You can go to my facebook page "Mary Standiford" or John Hoalland or Cynthis Kimball. I think you may have to friend request. But you can go there and I hope you watch the footage. It brings things back to center for us. I ask that you take a second out of your life to get to know John, to feel what he was about.
They have also started a scholorship in his name at his school that you can contribute to if you would like.

One lasting comment that John said to his recruiter sticks with me. When asked why he was joining the Navy, John replied," because it is the right thing to do." John wanted to be in the military since he was 5 years old. To John, joining was the right thing to do.

Fair winds and following seas shipmate.

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SMAbby
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Re: ET2 SW John Hoaland

Postby J D Patrick » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:27 am

nice tribute, thanks for sharing. A shame our country lost such good folks in an accident like that,
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