FACES OF SERVICE
Trey Weeks: He always wanted to be a Marine
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 11:16 p.m.
CROSS CITY - Marine Lance Cpl. Millard "Trey" Weeks III shared more than a name with his father, Millard Weeks Jr.
The father and son also used the same words to end their phone calls and letters - never goodbye, but always "see you in a minute."
It is a phrase Trey Weeks will never hear from his dad again. Millard Weeks Jr. was killed Jan. 28 when his car crashed with a tractor trailer on U.S. 19. Trey Weeks was already in North Carolina, preparing to be deployed as a heavy equipment operator.
Instead, the Marines sent Trey home for 10 days to attend his father's funeral. Two days after Trey rejoined his unit, they left for Kuwait.
"His dad was so proud of him because he was the first one on his dad's side of the family to graduate from high school," says Trey's stepmother, Kim Weeks.
Trey enlisted in the Marine Corps through the delayed entry program at the end of his junior year of high school.
"He has known since he was in the 8th grade that he wanted to be a United States Marine because there is no one tougher than the Marines," Kim says.
Before graduating from Dixie County High School a year ago, Trey was a defensive lineman on the Bears' football team and participated on the weightlifting and track teams. Trey headed to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in June.
"Right up until a month before he left for boot camp, it was not a big deal to his dad and I," Kim says. "But in that month before he left, if he had said he didn't want to go, we would have said OK."
Trey never wavered in his decision, not even after he met the girl he would eventually propose to.
"We met at the Suwannee River Fair a year ago when he was talking to some of my friends," says Leah Watson, a senior at Trenton High School, who accepted Trey's proposal when he finished boot camp in September.
Trey was assigned to New River Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C., with the 272nd Marine Wing Support Squadron, a heavy equipment unit also known as the Untouchables.
"The last time we heard from him he said the sandstorms were bad and the weather was either really cold or really hot and he was driving heavy equipment 10 hours a day," Kim says. "Of course he misses everyone here, and he is trying to get stationed closer to home when he gets back so he can maybe be more support for the three other kids that will still be here."
Trey's brother James is a junior at Dixie County High who will go to Army National Guard boot camp over the summer before returning to Dixie County for his senior year.
Trey's other siblings are Anita, Kayla and Aaron Weeks, who all live in North Central Florida. His mother, Gayle Brookins, is a resident of Gainesville.
Trey and Leah had set an August wedding date, but since his deployment, a wedding will happen "whenever he gets home," Leah says.
"Some of the sergeants have told him to look forward to September and other ones have said they could be going home between the Fourth of July and sometime in November," Leah says. "We'll just play it by ear."
The young couple has talked about Leah attending college while Trey finishes his four-year enlistment, and then he will go back to school. Architect, engineer, business owner and history teacher are all professions Trey has considered.
"That was one of the things he really liked about the military - that it would help pay for college," Kim says.
"Right now we are all praying for him to get home quickly. When he calls, I just tell him that his dad is there with him by his side and that we all love him."
Kim Weeks can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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