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Retirement Marks Marine Couple’s 21-Year Careers

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Claudio A. Martinez
American Forces Press Service

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan, May 24, 2010 – After 21 years of service, Master Sgts. Richard and Sabrina Bryan ended their Marine Corps careers during a retirement ceremony at the parade deck here May 17.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Master Sgts. Richard and Sabrina Bryan salute during their retirement ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, May 17, 2010. The Bryans spent nearly 10 of their 21 years of military service together as husband and wife, and retired on the base where they met. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Claudio A. Martinez

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Bryans spent nearly 10 of those 21 years of service together as husband and wife. Throughout deployments, military exercises and the stresses of military life, the Bryans have kept their family intact and are ready to move on.

“It’s a lot of work, but in the end it’s all worth it,” Richard said. “I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.”

“This is the best time to retire,” he said, noting the couple made the decision to retire together. Both Marines enlisted in 1989, and met in 1998 when both were stationed here. Richard, then Staff Sgt. Bryan, was working as the assistant mess hall manager when Sabrina, then Sgt. Owens, arrived on station.

“One day I was working in the mess hall and I just heard this loud voice that came in laughing all cheerful like,” Richard recalled. “I was like, ‘Who’s that?’”

Richard made his way to Sabrina, who was sitting at a table.

“I was eating breakfast and he sat at my table and didn’t say anything and I’m like, ‘Who is this person?’” Sabrina recalled. “So eventually, after about five or ten minutes, he said, ‘You are the one.’”

“And I’m like, ‘What? What is wrong with you?’” she continued. “I’ve never seen him before and he’s like, ‘You’re going to be my wife.’”

Although Sabrina refused to talk to him after their first encounter they began dating a few weeks later.

“He wouldn’t quit,” Sabrina said. “He just wouldn’t quit.” Richard said he took his example from the saying ‘winners never quit and quitters never win.’

They married after two years of dating. The Bryans were then faced with the stresses of not only being married, but also with being deployed at different times throughout their military careers.Everyone from her husband to her youngest son to her mother, Sabrina said, pulled together as a family and worked together through the various deployments and military exercises they were faced with.

“Just as hard as you work at your job, you have to work in your home with your marriage and your family,” Sabrina said. “If you’re not ready to do that - and most people are not ready to do that before [age] twenty-five - don’t do it.”

The Bryans, along with their four children, now are ready to move on to new experiences and have chosen Douglasville, Ga., as their new home. Although looking to new horizons, Richard and Sabrina know their time in the Marine Corps will always stay with them.

“Once a Marine, always a Marine,” Richard said. “I may not wear the uniform, but it’s still going to be within me. After 21 years, you don’t just walk away from it. It’s going to be with you for a long time. That will never change.”


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