The General's Wife: Snapshot of a hero on the homefront

by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez
III Marine Expeditionary Force

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan – Memorial Day often brings to mind those who risk their lives for our freedom on far off battlefields. However, every hero’s story is worth telling, including those behind the scenes. Here is a snapshot of one of those heroes.

Linda Sanborn is the wife of Maj. Gen. Russell A. Sanborn, commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. On Feb. 9, 1991, then Capt. Sanborn, an AV-8B Harrier II pilot, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Southern Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Sanborn was forced to eject and parachute into the same area where the missile was launched. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war until his release, March 6, 1991. Linda said she drew support and consolation from her Marine Corps family at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, in the intervening time.

Linda said the experience drew her closer to the military community and gave her a sense of purpose.

“Being a military spouse is not for the faint of heart,” said Linda. “This is not an easy life, but it is a good life. It’s hard here -- been a lot of hard moments. Are there scars on my life? Sure. Are there scars in Russell’s life? Sure. But everybody gets scarred by life. I think military life equips you to do amazing things and gives you a lot of opportunities to do amazing things.”

On Memorial Day, Americans will reflect the high price veterans have paid for freedom. Meanwhile, women like Linda labor to keep the home fires burning.

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