'I pray a lot' – Greenback woman
has three sons serving in Afghanistan
By Melissa Kinton Daily Times Correspondent
Richard and Bonnie
McClurg hold portraits
of their three sons serving in Afghanistan.
Like most mothers, Bonnie McClurg sometimes
refers to one son by another son's name. Unlike most mothers,
Bonnie McClurg has six sons. Half of them are deployed to
Afghanistan. “I just pray a lot and trust the Lord to watch over
them,” she said.
Torrey, 24, Shay, 23, and Brice, 20, joined the U.S. Navy
within months of each other. There were no pacts to stay
together, however. After graduating three separate basic
trainings, the McClurg brothers ended up at ports in three
“I was proud of them because they wanted to serve
their country,” said Bonnie. “But when that youngest Brice went,
it was hard on me.”
Now that half her family is in Afghanistan, Bonnie finds herself
thinking about all those other men and women at war. She said it
is easy to consider other military families as her own. She
feels especially compassionate for the young men and women who
are wounded. “We don't know what can happen,” she said.
Stress and worry aren't the only emotions her sons' deployments
have grown in Bonnie. Her patriotism has increased as well. Now
Bonnie pays more attention to what she is buying as a consumer
and buys American products whenever she can. The family even
traded its foreign car for a Ford recently.
Richard McClurg is Bonnie's husband of 28 years
and the father of her six sons. “We never lost one — we might
have misplaced one occasionally,” he joked, adding, “Christmases
are great around here.”
Working construction, he is away from home most
of the week. The house is quieter than it has been in nearly
Richard served his country in the U.S. Army. When
his sons asked his opinion about the military, he recommended
the Navy as a good way to see the world. Still, he was surprised
when Shay came home one day and said, “Oh, by the way, I joined
the Navy a few months ago.”
“You just hope you gave them a solid brain before
they left,” said Richard. Torrey McClurg is stationed on the
U.S.S. Harry Truman. His ship's port is in Norfolk, Va. As an
aviation boatswain mate airman, Torrey tests the fuel for the
jets that land and take off from his aircraft carrier.
Petty Officer Third Class Shay McClurg works with
radar in communications. He is an electronic technician
stationed on the U.S.S. Cape St. George, which makes port in San
Brice McClurg has achieved E2 status. He is a
steelworker apprentice, or welder, in the Naval Construction
Battalion Unit Seabees. Brice is not currently stationed on a
ship but is on the ground in Afghanistan. When he is not
deployed, he is stationed in Ventura, Ca.
Richard and Bonnie McClurg have three other sons, Brandon, 26,
Drew, 21, and Jaris, 18. All six sons attended Greenback School.
Grandparents are Glenn and Holly Jones and
Mildred and the late H.C. McClurg.