I’m a firm believer when it’s your time, it’s your time. You can get the crap scared out of you while deployed pretty easy. The type of scare that makes you wonder why your still alive type of scare. We would tell young warriors who did get scared that there is no reason to fret over it. When it’s your time, it’s your time. Focus on the enemy.

 Yes, I’m a God fearing man. Again, why it’s important you have your shit in one bag when you deploy. All of your family orders need to be in line.  Sometimes I’ve seen warriors defy gravity on deployments and live through multiple IED attacks only to get home and be killed by something stupid.

The greatest tragedy is not death but life without purpose

Even worse to losing a warrior is when a warrior looses a wife or child while they are deployed. Every day as I’m enjoying a nice Cgar & coffee usually after a nice run I think “man this is the perfect cgar smoking weather” and I realize how much I am enjoying the day and how grateful I am to have it. You have to cherish everyday like it’s your last. Work hard, play hard. If you’re in a crap job, unass yourself and  accomplish what you have to so you get out of it.  Say what’s on your mind to those you love because you might not get the chance tomorrow.

Be damn glad you're alive today….Time for a Cgar!

Below is a story about Nina & Kristopher by Tommy Tomlinson/ charlotte observer. It’s one of those stories I wish we didn’t have to tell.


Six months ago today, Kristopher Watkins proposed to Nina Leavitt at the Charlotte airport.

He had come home on leave from his Army unit in Italy. Their families knew he was going to propose, but Nina didn't. He pulled out the ring and dropped to one knee and she said yes right there in baggage claim.

They had dated for a year, but it was almost all long-distance – they had been together face-to-face for only a couple of weeks. Here's what I wrote back then:

"I know what you're thinking. I thought it, too. They've barely spent any time together, and now they're running off and getting married… But you know what? Nothing is sure in this world. If you're going to be bold for anything, be bold for love."

They got married last New Year's Eve.

They had two weeks together as Nina and Kristopher Watkins before he had to leave again. They didn't do a whole lot. Went to a concert – Jason Aldean and Billy Currington. Played with Kara, Nina's 9-year-old daughter. Settled in at their house in Newton. She was 27 and he was 25 and they practiced being a family.

Then he went back to Italy. Every Friday night, they had a date on Skype.

Nina stayed in shape – she did yoga, Pilates, tough workouts at the gym. Two Mondays ago she was on the treadmill. All of a sudden she crumpled to the floor.

They called Kristopher from the hospital in Hickory. He called his family and her family and raced to get a flight back home.

At the hospital, doctors diagnosed a brain aneurysm. She was still conscious. Her dad, Charles Leavitt, got to talk to her. She resisted when the nurses started to shave her head. Nina was vain about her hair.

By then they were getting ready to airlift her to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The families headed to Winston-Salem. Kristopher flew eight hours to Philadelphia and two hours to Charlotte and got to the hospital Tuesday evening.

Nina was no longer conscious.

The doctors laid it out for him. Surgery was too risky – she'd never survive it. They could wait a few days. Miracles happen. But barring that, she was gone.

Kristopher didn't know what to do.

All around Newton, people had heard, and there were PRAY FOR NINA signs at the gas station and the Subway. She grew up there and people knew her as a speech therapist, a member of the choir at the NewStar Community Church, an all-star on karaoke night, singing country or Journey or Creedence.

Kristopher drove back to Newton at night so he could be in the home where they started together. He hoped for a sign. Hold on or let go.

He got up Friday morning and noticed Nina's Bible on the kitchen table. Her notes from Bible study were tucked inside.

He read this: The greatest tragedy is not death but life without purpose.

And this: Death is not the end of you.

He went to the hospital and said it was time.

Everybody who wanted to say goodbye got their chance – his family, her family, Kara. (She will live with her dad.) Kristopher waited until the end.

He brought flowers. On his laptop he had made a slideshow of their wedding pictures, set to their favorite songs. He showed her the pictures and played her the songs and talked to her about all the good times.

It was their Friday night date.

Nina's funeral is Thursday. She'll be buried in her wedding dress.

Nina was an organ donor. At the Wake Forest hospital, whenever an organ donor dies, they raise a small white flag outside. Friday night, after it was over, Kristopher and his mom, Cynthia Phillips, went out to see it.

One flagpole had the U.S. flag. The other had the N.C. flag with the donor flag under it. But there was no wind. The flags sagged against the poles.

They looked up at the stillness and beyond into the dark.

"Mama," Kristopher said, "I wish the wind would blow so I could see it."

Just then, a breeze kicked up.


  1. What a great post! And I agree that, “When it’s your time, it’s your time” since losing my parents in a car accident. Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Almost got me to cry on that one, Devil Dog. Time is precious, and we truly don’t know when Yahushua Jesus will call us home. We should enjoy ever second of it, PERIOD.
    Semper Fi. G. Knox USMC 87-92

  3. Very beautiful story! Had me all choked up fighting back the tears! It is truly amazing how Love can have such an impact on us! Great post! Thanks for sharing it!
    Semper Fidelis,
    M. Perez USMC 1996-2000

  4. Here comes those tears again…
    Thank you, Major, for this beautiful tribute to this lovely young couple and their faith. What they had in the brief time they had together some people do not have in a life time. Another reminder to live one day at time never taking your loved ones for granted.

  5. My wife was killed by a drunk driver 30 years ago when we were expecting our first.
    You don’t get over it, you just get on with it.
    Knowing that when it’s your time, it’s your time, makes it easier, but it does not make it easy.
    Keep looking forward Kristopher.
    You will make it.

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