An Armed Forces Day tribute to Islanders in service
In honor of Armed Forces Day on May 16, The Martha's Vineyard Times invites the Martha's Vineyard community to join a grateful nation in remembering and thanking those who are serving in the military - on active duty, in the reserves, or in the National Guard. Friends and family members recently provided updates about Islanders in service.
Exec. Petty Officer Jordan Baptiste, U.S. Coast Guard
Jordan Baptiste, who grew up in Vineyard Haven, was assigned as the executive petty officer (XPO) at Coast Guard Station Menemsha last month. In his previous assignment he served as part of a pre-commissioning crew for the USCGC Bertholf, the Coast Guard's first national security cutter. After graduating from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) in 2000, he played football for a year while attending Bridgewater State College, and then joined the Coast Guard in 2002. XPO Baptiste has continued to pursue his college education online through Columbia College towards a bachelor's of science degree in business.
Lt. Mason Berry, U.S. Navy
Lieutenant Berry, a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is a Navy pilot stationed in Guam where he is training pilots to fly the MH60 Sierra helicopter in the Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) program. He was previously deployed to northern Kuwait, where he piloted an MH-60S helicopter in medevac missions for all of Kuwait, southern Iraq, and the northern Arabian Gulf for nine months. After finishing a year's assignment in Guam, Lt. Berry will be doing stateside training for the NATOPS program in Pensacola and San Diego. The lieutenant is the son of Peyton and Andrew Berry of Vineyard Haven.
Specialist Daniel Blake II, U.S. Army
Specialist Blake, trained as a mechanic, is currently stationed at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. He will be deployed this summer, possibly to Iraq. In 2007, while serving in Afghanistan with the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division, he was injured when a rocket-propelled grenade struck a convoy he was riding in. Spc. Blake recovered from his injuries after undergoing treatment in Texas. His brother Michael, whose update follows, also serves in the Army. The sons of Bertha and Daniel Blake, they grew up in Oak Bluffs, along with their other brother Aaron, and graduated from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS).