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Petty Officer 1st Class David A. Whittington, corpsman, Public Health, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital, has served in the Navy for 15 years. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed being able to serve alongside Marines. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

What I've Learned: David A. Whittington

16 Aug 2016 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

> I grew up in Coalinga, Calif. It’s probably the town I’ve spent the longest time in one place. It was a small town with about 11,000 people. Everybody knows everybody and I really enjoyed growing up there.

> Growing up in a small community was nice. Likewise, I enjoy being in small commands. I feel they have strong camaraderie and you understand everybody a little bit more.

> I wasn’t great in high school and didn’t take it too seriously. Initially, I entertained the thought of enlisting as just something to do once I made it into the real world. I knew I wasn’t going to go to college and I was dating my wife at the time knew it was getting serious.

> My step dad was in the Air Force and worked in medical. He told me the Navy was very independent while the Army and Air Force were very specialized. I think that is what drove me to become a Navy corpsman.

> I’ve been in the Navy for 15 years last month. I didn’t think I’d stay in very long at first but one thing led to another and I stuck around.

> I’ll stay in as long as it keeps being fun. Everyday has been enjoyable but at times it’s a challenge.

> Most of my tours have been with Marines. The camaraderie with Marines is outstanding and it’s something you won’t find anywhere else. I think it’s the fact that you go through unpleasant experiences with a group of people and you come through it closer. I also enjoy being outside — whether it’s hot, cold, wet or miserable — it’s a lot of fun.

> In my second unit, 1st Sgt. Justin Lehew was a Navy Cross Recipient from Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. He wasn’t very tall; maybe 5 foot 5 inches but very intimidating and I really looked up to him. He had a lot of experience and I felt like he cared about his Marines and sailors.

> I’m into competitive shooting. My dad and I were always into shooting and we joined a club. Now, it’s something we do whenever we get together.

> I have one sister and two half-brothers. My sister and I never got along as children. We didn’t like the same stuff. But after she moved out of the house we had a better relationship. I took care of my two half-brothers while they went to school. It’s probably why I waited so long to have kids.

> My mom always supported us. Both my parents, even though they separated, taught me something different. My mom taught me the base values between good and bad and my dad taught me to fend for myself. I still maintain good communication with my family.

> I’ve been married since I was 19 but have only lived with my family for about 3 years. My wife has her own career as a teacher and to uproot and move every time you change duty stations is a real challenge. Every time she goes to a new school district she starts back from the bottom.

> I go home and visit as often as I can. My family lives in the Fresno, Calif., area so every weekend I drive home.

> I’ve thought about getting out but it’s pretty scary. I haven’t really focused on myself but I feel like I’m resourceful enough. I’d like to look at a career in wildlife, fish and game.

> The times I will remember most will be relaxing and spending time with family and friends.

> I’ve enjoyed the Navy and it’s given me a lot of opportunities. I’ve met a lot of acquaintances and people that I will stay in contact with forever. Even though you get out and move on you still stay in touch. Everyday is a ride and I enjoy what I do; that’s all that matters.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms