January in Bahrain. Sheik Isa Air Base.
Jeffery Robinson and the VMFA-451 Warlords have been loading Mk-83 and Mk-84 bombs onto a squadron of F/A-18 Hornets for days. In hours, anti-aircraft guns, Scud missiles and early-warning radars across Iraq will explode in a series of fiery blasts.
The campaign will continue for weeks.
Robinson (front) along with other members of the VMFA-451 Warlords in 1990.
Given enough height, the 2,000-pound Mk-84s will penetrate 11 feet of concrete, obliterating anything within a 400-yard blast radius. Still, the impact is nothing compared to what Robinson felt when he heard the news.
“This was before cell phones and the Internet,” he said. “My son had been born two days earlier and there were complications. They gave me a 12-day emergency leave, but it took six days to get home. Getting back to the base was faster, so I got to see my family – my wife and newborn son – for about four days.”
Robinson had been a Marine for more than three years when he was called away from those bombs – the first to fall in support of Operation Desert Storm. He stayed on in the military until 1994, when he exited the service with a rank of sergeant.
These many years later, he speaks of his days in the Corps with a good deal of enthusiasm and a great sense of pride. Still, he’s never forgotten the struggles of enlisted life and those are the memories that drive him to help where he can.
“You don’t go into the military for the money or for a house. You go to do your duty and you don’t ask anything in return,” he said. “Operation Finally Home is giving back to people who have made countless sacrifices.”
The folks at Operation Finally Home (OFH) have spent the past decade working to build hundreds of mortgage-free homes for servicemen and women and their families.
In July, the nonprofit took on a project for a decorated veteran of the Texas Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. When completed, the Tyler, Texas, home will rest upon 70 yards of Martin Marietta concrete.
Robinson (right) in 2015, working alongside Glenn Miller (left) and Ronnie Lyles (center) of Operation Finally Home.
Robinson, who now goes by the title of sales representative in the Company’s Southwest Division, facilitated the donation after connecting with OFH through a customer.
Working with the charity has been life-changing.
“As an employee, it makes you feel good that you’re with a company that not only takes care of you, but looks out for the community you’re serving,” Robinson said. “As a veteran, it makes you proud to see people get back all that they’ve put in.”