'I pray a lot' – Greenback woman has three sons serving in Afghanistan

Richard and Bonnie McClurg hold portraits
of their three sons serving in Afghanistan.


By Melissa Kinton Daily Times Correspondent
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 different cities.
“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 three decades.
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 Diego, Calif.
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.