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Clarkston family's next generation called to serve



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From left, Alexander Navarre celebrates his graduation from U.S. Air Force basic training with his parents, Vicki and Michael Navarre, and brother, Michael, Jr. (click for larger version)
March 16, 2011 - When Douglas and Brenda Alexander of Clarkston attended their grandson Michael Navarre, Jr.'s graduation from Air Force basic training, Oct. 29, they knew what to expect.

They were just at one, attending another grandson's graduation this past June, for Alexander Navarre.

"These two events were unforgettable – very emotional and very patriotic," Brenda said.

And they're planning another trip in May, this time for grandson Nickolas Johnson's graduation from Marine Boot Camp.

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"We'll go to Parris Island when he graduates," she said. "It means so much to me to have my boys serving my country and protecting us."

All three grandsons were born and raised in Clarkston, she said.

"All graduated from Clarkston High School, as did their parents and maternal grandparents," Brenda said.

Michael graduated from Clarkston High in 2005, and Grand Valley State University in April 2010. Alex, Michael's brother, graduated from CHS in 2009. Johnson, their cousin, graduated in 2006.

Alex was the first to enlist, leaving for basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, this past April. He graduated as Airman First Class after eight weeks of basic training, then attended Tech School at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, for two months.

He received his orders for McChord Air Force Base in Seattle, Wash. His assignment is air crew flight equipment, working on the flight line.

Michael Jr. graduated from basic in October as an Honor Graduate. He then was assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base Intel Tech School in San Angelo, Texas.

After the six-month school, he will be classified as an intel analyst and report to Beale Air Force in Sacramento, Calif. He plans on applying to Officers Candidate School after six months of service.

Johnson, the Alexanders' second oldest grandson, enlisted in the Marines and left for basic training at Marine Corps Depot, Parrish Island, S.C., last month.

"I received two letters from him so far," Brenda said. "He says things are tough and he's finding it challenging, but he's ready for it."

He plans to become an aviation mechanic.

"We are looking forward to attending Nickolas's graduation from the Marine Corps in May," Brenda said. "They all three have chosen to serve and protect our nation as well as continuing their education. We are so proud of our grandsons."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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