Family travels across country to visit soldier son


star staff

  Parents will travel to the end of the earth for their children, so for Dot and Dan Orellana, California was not a problem. In fact, they made it an adventure, stopping short in Sin City and En Senda, Mexico before heading back home to Elizabethton.
  "After seeing our son only a couple of short weeks in October and for Thanksgiving, we decided to take a trip to California in July to see him; we drove cross country just to see our hero," said Dot.
  Dot is afraid to fly, according to Dan, because of heightened terror threats, so they opted to make a road trip in a quick two-and- a-half days to visit their son who is in the Marine Corps.
  All three of the Orellana's sons joined the Marine Corps. Two of them are already out of the Marines, but their youngest son, Lincoln, 20, is why they made the 2,300 mile trek across the country to Twentynine Palms, Calif., where Lincoln was temporarily deployed the week the Orellana's headed west. His permanent base is in Camp Pendleton, which is located approximately one hour away from Twentynine Palms.
  Though Dot and Dan tried to persuade Lincoln to pursue another path, he didn't hesitate to join the Marines, and for that they are proud. It seems to be a family tradition to join the Marines for the Orellana family, but, according to Dot, Lincoln made his decisions solely based on duty to his country.
  The Orellana's spent five days with their son and his wife, Kristin, in Twentynine Palms even though he had to go back to the base two of those days. Later that week they stayed with their son in their home near Camp Pendleton until he was issued another two-day leave.
  Lincoln is the baby, according to Dan, so it was tough to see him leave for Iraq in January 2003, but it was even tougher to watch the news every night while he was overseas, Dot said.
  "Dan and I kept our eyes glued to the TV just praying to God to keep our son safe; many nights and many tears," Dot said.
  Lincoln ranks as Lance Cpl. in fueling unit 372 AFOPS Charlie Company. While in Iraq he worked in a refueling unit, which supplied U.S. trucks as they moved toward Baghdad. Lincoln also refueled thousands of fighter jets and helicopters.
  Lincoln was in Iraq and Kuwait for nine long months, when he was then rotated out. Two marines who filled his refueling position where killed, according to Dan.
  "We hope and pray for peace that God will bring home the rest of our troops safely," Dot said.
  Upon returning home from Iraq, Lincoln married his Elizabethton Highschool sweetheart, Kristen Howard. It is unknown if Lincoln will be required to return to active duty. The Orellana's can only hope.
  "It all depends on the situation in Iraq," said Dan.
  Although they are against the war, they support the troops as any parent of a proud Marine would.