1. Archive


Marine Corps Pfc. Robert P. Ryals, son of Helen A. Ryals of Clearwater and Richard R. Ryals of Dunedin, completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S. C.

In addition to the physical conditioning program, Ryals spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments, which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit during field training.

Ryals and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values of honor, courage and commitment and ended the training phase with the Crucible, a 54-hour, team evolution culminating in a ceremony in which recruits are presented the Marine Corps Emblem and addressed as "Marines" for the first time in their careers.

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Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin L. Mattina, son of Dorothy Mattina of Mobile, Ala., and Joe Mattina Jr. of Palm Harbor, graduated from the Aviation Survival Technician Class A course and was promoted to his current rank at Coast Guard Aviation Technical Training Center, Elizabeth City, N. C.

During the course, Mattina received hands-on experience in the preparation, inspection, operation, repair and maintenance of aviation survival and rescue equipment. He also was instructed in a rigorous physical training and water rescue program. This program prepared him to become an integral part of a helicopter rescue team as a rescue swimmer.

Mattina is a 2008 graduate of East Lake High and joined the Coast Guard in February 2009.

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Navy Chief Petty Officer Christopher M. Royael, son of Claudia and Art Royael of Clearwater, is currently deployed. Royael, along with fellow sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway with a ceremony, a fitting tribute given the ship's close ties to the battle.

The previous USS Enterprise (CV 6) and her wing played a vital role in the pivotal World War II battle that took place June 4-7, 1942. The Battle of Midway is regarded as the turning point in the war of the Pacific. Alongside three other carriers, the USS Enterprise and the U.S. strike forces defeated the Imperial Japanese navy carrier task force. The USS Enterprise and her wing were credited with sinking three of the four Japanese carriers that day at Midway.

At the opening of the ceremony, Rear Adm. Ted Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, described the heroic roles of the sailors and Marines who fought and died during the historic battle.

"We were not without losses of our own, however, " said Carter. "Although Enterprise was not attacked during the battle, her air wing suffered the heaviest losses of any air wing at sea up to that point."

As part of the commemoration, Enterprise's first class petty officers performed a wreath-laying ceremony on the fantail of the ship. The fallen sailors and Marines were also honored with a 21-gun salute and the sounding of Taps.

Aircraft assigned to CVW-1 performed a missing-man flyover formation to commemorate the aviators who were lost during the battle.

Royael is a 1997 graduate of Clearwater High School and joined the Navy in August 2000.