Celebration of life: Damian Ringwald

by Jayce Ringwald

For twenty-one years, Damian Ringwald has been a comparison. His interests in science, guitar, and video games are hand-me-downs from family or shared with his sisters. He was affectionately known as “Richard Lite” at the job he worked with his father, and, while it made sense for family to share a sense of humor, it was frustrating. Damian didn’t want to be a watered-down version of somebody else.

“No matter how many hours I worked, it just wasn’t enough.” Damian said, describing life after high school. There was never enough money, stability, or chances to be independent. Not even the growing collection of tattoos that decorate his left arm were enough to mark him as individual. In the summer of 2015, Damian charged into the Navy Recruitment Office in Concord, New Hampshire with every intention of becoming a cook.

It took two years, but Damian finally signed a nuclear engineering contract; it would have been the same contract his mother signed in 1992 had women been allowed to join the program then. “It felt like I was carrying on a legacy,” Damian reflected. In June of 2017, Damian shipped out to Great Lakes Naval Station for boot camp in Chicago, Illinois.

Damian is third-generation Navy and has never been more grateful to share an experience with so much of his family. From his first communal shower to the constant marching and intensive training, Damian’s mantra was, “[my] Dad marched in this hall…everyone in my family had to do this.” That’s what got him through his eight weeks of boot camp. On August 25, 2017, Damian Ringwald graduated in the exact same drill hall his father graduated in twenty-five years earlier.

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