Mother's Day

Mother's Day
Sunday, May 12, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
3223 Buckner Lane, Paducah, KY

Not Your Typical Military Officer

Darin, a 1986 graduate of Calloway County High School, a 1990 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering served two years in the Peace Corps before joining the Air Force in 1996. Being the oldest in his OTS class, he was affectionately called “Pappy.” Not a typical path for a military officer.

During his military career he applied and was accepted into the International Affairs Specialist program. After two years of study at the Naval Post Graduate School and the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California he became a South Asia Regional Affairs Strategist. With his love and gift for languages, Darin became proficient in Pashto, the prominent language of Afghans. He also learned a working knowledge of Dari, the other official language of Afghanistan. His job was to teach the culture to the Special Operations Forces that would be working along side the Afghans as they assisted the Afghan military and police to take over the security of their country.

Darin had a problem with this; how could he teach a culture he had not experienced? He petitioned the Air Force for a deployment to Afghanistan. In 2009 he was granted and assigned to work with the Provincial Reconstruction Team, building infrastructure in Zabul, a somewhat remote province in southern Afghanistan.  As he told his daughters, his reason to volunteer, “It’s an honorable sense of duty to help others.”


During his first deployment he visited the Afghans in their homes, had tea with them, attended weddings and other celebrations. His Afghan name was Ehsaan, meaning generous. In 2009 the literacy rate in Zabul was around 11%, Darin strongly felt one of the key ways to win the war on terrorism was with education. In an interview that year, he explained, “it is harder for the insurgents to draw people to their cause if their quality of life is good.”  He and his comrades worked to dig wells, build schools and roads as well as form relationships with the people.

 After 9 months in Zabul, Darin returned to his wife and young daughters in Florida and continued his work at the Special Operations School. In 2011 he was sent back to Afghanistan. As chief plans advisor, he worked with the NATO forces at the Afghanistan Interior Ministry. One month before his year long deployment was to end; Darin and another officer were killed by an Afghan junior officer while working inside the Interior Ministry.

As Darin’s mom, I am asking you to spend Mothers Day 2013 with me in my garden as I celebrate his life, honor his mission of education and remember his service to our country.