Vandegrift honors 3 veterans


Nicholas Scoggins, Staff Reporter

As Americans, we owe our freedom to our brave servicemen and women who guard over our nation against tyranny. Our school itself is named after Marine Lieutenant Matthew Vandegrift, who heroically gave his life to defend our country against the enemy. We are also fortunate enough to have several three veterans working at our school. 

Michael Heath, Assistant Principal
After his freshman year at Texas A&M, assistant principal Mike Heath enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an active reservist. He served in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Division based back then out of Houston. His service was cut short by a plane crash in 1997, which broke his back. He was moved into inactive ready reserves until being discharged in 2003 as a Lance Corporal.

“Being in the Marine Corps, and just the military in general, I have huge respect for anybody, Airforce, Army, Navy, Coast Guard,” Heath said.  

Heath said Matthew Vandegrift’s legacy is one of selflessness and honor and integrity. 

Melisa Thickstun, ISS Teacher
ISS teacher Melisa Thickstun served from 1998 to 2002 in the U.S. Airforce. She was assigned as a medic to the 99th Medical Group based out of Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. She reached the rank of Senior Airmen, which is the Airforce equivalent to Corporal in the Army or Marines.  

“It’s just like a huge family,” Thickstun said. “It’s a huge family of working together. Everyone that I was in with, we always communicate through the day, we’ve been shooting texts and stuff. We make fun of each other.”

Christopher Lynch, ASPIRE Teacher
ASPIRE teacher Christopher Lynch served 23 years in the United States Army. Enlisting in December of 1990, he joined the highly decorated 1st Cavalry Division. He was deployed to Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield and deployed to the regino again during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also easily associated with our school’s namesake.

“All military services have a lot of similarities,” he said.  “Some of the things I’ve seen or heard about him are similar things to what I’ve seen or gone through myself.”


As Veterans Day marks the 101st anniversary of the Armistice of WW1, let us remember as a nation what our brave soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors and coast guardsmen have gone through to keep us safe. Whether it is fighting the forces of evil to providing humanitarian aid after a disaster, our armed forces are what have made our country so great. We all owe our lives to them.