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Event Information: Chris Tighe

Meet Chris Tighe

Athough both of his grandfathers, his father, and his older brother had all served or were currently serving in the Navy, Christopher Tighe did not initially believe it was for him. Growing up, he was more interested in going to college to learn a new language. When he learned of an advanced foreign language program that would offer post-grad opportunities through the Navy, he realized he could achieve both a military and an academic career. At 18 years old, Tighe left home for bootcamp.

Over 23 years, Tighe was deployed to Japan, England, Italy, the South China Sea, Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan. He earned a degree and became fluent in Mandarin. He also met his wife, Linda, a native of Hopkinton, MA, while they served together.

“I enjoyed working alongside the military of our allies, working on a mission with them, and becoming friends with them,” he says. “During deployment you have to rely on your team more so than when you’re at home. This is when friendships grow stronger and when people from different parts of the country and different cultures become a brother or sister.”

Tighe was awarded three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, and nine Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

But even with all of these accolades, Tighe’s happiest moment was when he returned home from Afghanistan, the most difficult deployment he had. On the last leg of his long journey home, Tighe just wanted to go unnoticed. That was not the case, as the flight attendant announced his presence and that he was returning home from Afghanistan. “I just left an area of the world where I was not welcomed and now I was being welcomed home by a group of people that I never met.” Upon arrival, Tighe was not just greeted by his family, but friends and police officers. “When they looked up and saw me, they all began to cheer and clap. I came down the escalator where [Linda] was waiting for me with tears in her eyes. She ran to me and jumped in my arms. It was the greatest feeling I had while in the military.”

Tighe will run the Hopkinton leg of the relay, in part for Linda, who from her time as an Army Airborne is “a little banged up from jumping out of airplanes.” He also runs to display being a veteran “not as a status, but a duty to carry on the memory of those who gave it their all.”

B.A.A. Moment

Chris Tighe

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