We are on record as struggling with this edition of the Dark Ages and when that envelops you, it is easy to spiral downward. As the family’s resident optimist, I have continued to put on a smile for the girls at home and encourage them that everything will work out in the end, that better days are coming.
Then we got the news.
First, we heard that a Mid had suffered a heart attack during PRT, which quickly turned into news that he had passed away. When something bad happens at the Academy – or in the Navy for that matter – you scramble for information. What happened? Who was it? Is everyone OK?
The news got worse and worse. Duke Carrillo, a beloved youngster, had died during PRT. He had not one, but two brothers at the Academy, working their PRT just like him. I cannot even fathom that scene, nor can I pretend to understand what the family is going through right now.
To have a child at the United States Naval Academy is a source of pride. To have three there at one time? At some point, I can only imagine the parents had to pinch themselves. Now, I am certain they wish someone would wake them from this nightmare.
I know students at other universities pass away under truly sad circumstances. There’s something different at the military academies. While these brave young men and women have signed on to put their lives at risk for our benefit, each loss is devastating. They become close – maybe not buddy-buddy, but close in ways most of us will never understand. They spend so much time, so close, and under so much pressure, the bonds forged are as strong as their will to serve.
So when a member of the USNA family passes, we all lose someone, a little piece of ourselves. It happened when we lost Christopher Sears when he succumbed to leukemia. It happened more recently when Kaleb Watson’s bravery and commitment cost him his life. And now, we have lost Duke.
Our Academy family has reached out with all the love it can muster because #YourMidIsMyMid. Grant Vermeer of Academy Insider spoke to all of our hearts.
We will likely never understand why Duke was taken from us and all we can do is offer his family love and support, and pray for Duke fair winds and following seas.
You can send cards and notes to:
The Carrillo Family
1201 Sweetwater Lane
Flower Mound, TX 75028