Living Memorial For Derek Tomlin

Submitter’s Name: Fabiola Martinez
The Service Member’s Name: Derek Tomlin
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Corporal 
Military Job: Infantryman and Mortarman
Hometown for Service Member:
Midlothian, TX

Submitted by Navarro College student, Fabiola Martinez

Derek Andrew Tomlin was born on June 7, 1989, Midlothian, TX to what he refers as “a great and united family.”  With excitement, he talks about being very proud of his family, as all of the men in the family have served in the Air Force.  Derek is the middle child of three children; he has an older sister who is one year older than him and a younger brother who is 6 years younger.

He describes his childhood as “warrior mentally,” and always knew he wanted to serve our country.  Tomblin says, “I always wanted to serve our country and be a good patriot, and to love my family.”  His best childhood memory is the support of his family – no matter what he wanted to do for his career, he knew that they would always support.  Two things drove him even more to that decision, first was his military family and second was September 11, 2001.  Tomlin states he remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing, as the attack occurred.  He was in 6th grade history class taking a test.  His teacher “freaked out” and turned the news on the big square TV.  The whole class watched as the first tower had already been hit, and continued to watch as the second tower come down.  Tomlin remembers his feelings as “angry blood boiling.” 

When he returned home from school he talked to his father and recalled asking, “Why did that happen? Any why would someone would do that?”  His dad explained there are many bad people out there.  He asked his dad, “How can we fix this?”  His dad responded, “Son, by doing your part.”  That is exactly what he did, he says, “I did my part.”  Derek Tomblin stated he does not regret joining the military and wishes he had done a lot more with the time given.

Derek joined the United States Marine Corps.  The first one is his family to join a different branch, as everyone else had joined the Air Force; he just knew he wanted to do something different.  His father suggested that he join the Air Force, but his decision was made.  He sat down with the recruiter in June 2007, the summer before his senior year in high school and with his decision made there was no turning back.  Two days after graduation, he was off to San Diego, California to start his boot camp training. 

Corporal Tomlin talked about his experience, having served two seven-month tours in Afghanistan.  He describes it as “a war movie.”  He says it was very stressful and very scary.  He prayed to God every morning, not knowing if that day might be his last.  However, he said he also had lots of fun and met many cool people from all over the U.S.  He stated if he were to travel to any other state, he would have a roof over his head, due to the friendships he made. 

I asked Corporal Tomlin if he had a chance to speak to young people, what he would share.  He stated he would encourage others to serve and protect our country.  He said there were many “pros” that come with serving.  He looked at his job training as a benefit.  He said, you join at a young age and usually start with a four-year contract.  You get to pick a career field and gain experience while in the military and can use it on your resume, which provides you better opportunities for getting a job.  He said, you are almost guaranteed a job.  Tomlin said that free college is also an advantage, and if that opportunity is there, why let it pass. 

Corporal Tomlin closed with a very important topic as he indicated the passing of Chris Kyle was a very emotional and hard situation.  Both Tomlins’ parents, as well as Chris Kyle’s parents, attended school together.  I thanked Corporal Tomblin for taking time and sharing his story and for serving our country.