Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
From left, Gloria and Mark Chadwich are joined by sons Daniel Chadwick and Air Force 2nd Lt. Samuel Chadwick, during a party to celebrate Daniel’s high school graduation and appointment to the Air Force Academy and Samuel’s graduation from the Air Force Academy.
Family faith propels Chadwick boys to service
The summer of 2018 has been a propitious time for Mark and Gloria Chadwick. One of their sons has just graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, and the other is preparing to follow suit.
The Madera couple is set to watch their youngest son make the same rigorous journey of military training that his brother traveled to become an Air Force officer. Hence, they are all off on a family vacation to Hawaii this week before Lt. Sam Chadwick reports to his first duty assignment and Daniel leaves for Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy.
No one who knows the Chadwicks can be surprised that the brothers did not chose a less rigorous route to a commission in the United States military. They could have enlisted and applied for Officer’s Candidate School (OCS); they could have applied for Officers Training School (OTS), or they could have earned a commission through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
As honorable as these preparations for military leadership are, however, the Chadwick brothers set their eyes toward the pinnacle of officer training: a service academy.
In more ways than one, the lives of Sam and Daniel Chadwick mirror each other. Both brothers went to Berenda Elementary, Desmond Middle School, and graduated from Madera High School — Sam in 2012 and Daniel in 2018. Both were involved in scouting, both were members of the Order of the Arrow, and both were Eagle Scouts. The career choices of both were greatly influenced by the robotics program at Madera High.
When it came time to consider college, there was never any doubt in Sam’s mind where he wanted to go after high school, but it took considerable determination to get there.
Sam set out for an appointment to the Air Force Academy and received a nomination from Congressman Jeff Denham in 2012. Before he could accept the appointment, however, he encountered a vision problem, which necessitated his spending a year in Greystone Preparatory School in Kerrville, Texas.
Armed with a $125,000 scholarship, Sam completed the year at Greystone and then secured a second nomination to the Air Force Academy, this time from Congressman Jim Costa. Once more, however, Sam was deterred. Before he could go to Colorado Springs, he broke his arm in a dodge ball mishap, which derailed his plans for the Academy for another year and sent him back to Greystone.
In 2014, Sam received his third congressional nomination to the Air Force Academy, and this time he made it without physical or vision problems. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in 2018.
While Sam was finishing his final year at the Academy, Daniel was laying the groundwork for his own plans to become an officer in the United States military. Through the office of Congressman Jim Costa, he was nominated to the Army’s Military Academy at West Point and to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He also received an ROTC scholarship at Harvard. At that point, Daniel had a decision to make. He was offered an appointment to West Point, but his appointment to the Air Force Academy would have to be preceded by a year of preparatory school in Colorado Springs.
In his heart, Daniel wanted to prepare to be a pilot, and the army didn’t provide as many flying opportunities as the Air Force. Therefore, Daniel said no to West Point and to the Harvard ROTC. He opted for the Air Force Academy, even though he would spend a year in the preparatory school.
Thus it is that the Chadwicks are spending this week together, before Sam and Daniel follow the paths of service they have chosen, and that is not surprising.
Their heritage is one of service, and it is rooted in the shared values, history, and common goals of a family that has taught by example, personal sacrifice for others.
Mark Chadwick is employed by the California Department of Water Resources and serves as an Information Technology Supervisor. Last year he served in a first responder capacity for the Oroville Spillway Incident (aka National Disaster DR-43080).
He is an Air Force veteran who served as a telephone equipment installation and repair specialist. He served at Vandenberg AFB, Andrews AFB, and Kirtland AFB during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
Gloria Chadwick is a retired California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Parole agent. Early in her career, she also worked for the California Youth Authority. She is presently involved with the Ladies Ministries at Valley West Christian Center and mentors students at Madera High School.
When asked to comment on the direction in life the Chadwick brothers have taken, Mark attributes their commitment and that of his entire family to their faith and two verses from the Bible: Matthew 20:28 and John 15:13.
“As Jesus came to serve and not be served, our family has embraced and incorporated that philosophy in our personal lives,” he said. “Gloria and I both live the example with putting ourselves on the line as law enforcement and servants of the people. I would say then that our boys simply witnessed that over their lifetimes and aspire to emulate that.”