MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- A recent recruit training graduate received a special opportunity at the Peatross Parade Deck Oct. 21.
Private First Class Chris Phibbs, a graduate of Platoon 3094, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, is the son of a deployed Marine, Master Sgt. Mike Holcomb, in Al Asad, Iraq. Thanks to modern technology, Holcomb would be able to view his son’s recruit graduation from Iraq.
While in Iraq, Holcomb had been working with a group called Freedom Calls Center that specializes in connecting the Marines in Iraq to their families in the United States, according to Tammy Holcomb, the mother of the new Marine.
Wishing to connect to two Marines, the family got in touch with the Marine’s command on the Depot, and work began to allow Holcomb to view his son become a Marine from across the globe.
“We had to get in touch with Freedom Calls and install software and hardware,” said Lance Cpl. James Hutching, a networking technician with Computer Systems Support Facility. “We had to set up a laptop for a video teleconference to Al Asad, Iraq.”
With help from Good To Go Video and CSSF, the teleconference went into motion.
“We used two laptops with fire wire, my personal video camera and Good To Go’s video tape deck and cameras, as well as Depot Telephone’s fiberoptic cables to make the connection,” Hutching added. “Things went pretty good for us because the fiber worked, the laptop found and recognized the new hardware from Good To Go Video and we had the correct Internet Protocol address to input the feed to Iraq.”
While the graduation ceremony was in action, Holcomb was able to watch from various camera angles Good To Go Video used. With an American flag in the background, he looked on in anticipation and pride.
After the ceremony came to a close, Phibbs reunited with his family and they went to the area where the teleconference was set up so they could speak with each other.
Holcomb gave his son words of encouragement from thousands of miles away that sent tears down the faces of some of the family members.
“No matter what happens, just know that what you did today is nothing short of amazing,” he told his son.
They talked about a variety of issues, both on and off a Marine Corps basis. Phibbs said he was delighted in the chance he had to speak with his father.
“It was the best surprise ever,” said Phibbs, who found out about the teleconference only the day prior. “Words cannot even express how good it feels.”
Other family members had the opportunity to speak with Holcomb as well. They gave him words of encouragement and told him to be safe while there as tears and tissues were common sights on their faces.
Hutching said the new Marine had a great opportunity and he was glad to be a part of it.
“He was the first Marine to have his graduation broadcasted to Iraq from Parris Island,” he said. “He also got to meet the Commanding General and most of all was able to have his father there to see him graduate.”