Trondheim, Norway --
Cpl. James McCormick, a reserve heavy equipment mechanic with General Support Maintenance Company, Reserve Detachment Rock Island, Illinois, 4th Maintenance Battalion arrived here last week to assist the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway with vehicle maintenance. His home and his fiancée are back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or at least they used to be.
When he left his home in Iowa for the deployment to Norway, the nearby Cedar River wasn't flooding then. But while working in Norway, his fellow Marines noticed that Cedar Rapids appeared on CNN in several news stories. McCormick watched internet news video which was centering on the remains of a collapsed railroad bridge when he saw his house nearby, underwater. And McCormick quickly placed an urgent phone call.
He contacted his family and fiancée, and made sure they were safe. He then learned the news that his house and most of what he owns had been destroyed by the floodwaters.
"My fiancée said my house has all but been demolished. The foundation in the basement has collapsed, causing the house to shift. My family is trying to get inside the house to see if they can get anything out," McCormick said.
He also found out that 400 blocks of the city had been evacuated, and around 24,000 of his fellow Hawkeyes were seeking a new place to spend the night.
McCormick has not asked to return early from the Norway deployment. "The damage is already done," he said. "My obligation is with the Marine Corps. I'm helping other people here in Norway, and back at home there was nothing I could have prevented. Regardless if was I here or there, the outcome at home would be the same, so I'll help out here."
Exemplifying tremendous esprit de Corps, McCormick continued, "If you give up, where does that leave you?"
McCormick and his fiancée were engaged April 13 of this year. No date is set for the wedding, but he says their relationship will persevere. They are facing this knowing that they might see other difficulties after marriage, and he knows they'll get through them all with teamwork.
"My fiancée is a great woman, and we've already started all over again," McCormick said. She's found another place to live already, and we're just taking it one day at a time."
Honor, courage, and commitment? We think so, McCormick.