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Morgan Tingle, Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum docent, explains the educational tools she uses with school groups and younger guests to the museum aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. Tingle started volunteering with the museum after visiting with her parents and says that visiting the museum was one of her favorite activities during their visit.

Photo by Cpl. Michelle Piehl

Volunteer shares love of Marine Corps history, tradition

2 Jun 2014 | Cpl. Michelle Piehl 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

An unseasonable heat and brilliant sunshine washes over historical aircraft just off of Miramar Road in San Diego. An American flag and Marine Corps flag ripple with strong Santa Ana winds. A docent opens the door, warmly inviting a family to the museum. Her youthful face radiates joy and an eagerness to learn as much as she can from the former service members with whom she spends her Wednesdays.

Morgan Tingle, an Angleton, Texas, native, volunteers at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. She stays committed to her Marine, a musician with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, and committed to the Corps by devoting her time to expanding Marine Corps knowledge to the local community and air station.

Tingle has been recognized as part of the 3rd MAW commanding general’s, Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, Committed and Engaged Spouses initiative, which recognizes Marine spouses who go above and beyond to support others.

 “It is an honor to be a Marine wife,” said Tingle. “I believe that they can do their jobs even better when they have the support of their country as a whole ... That job starts at home.”

 Just as her husband is called upon to be committed and engaged to the Corps, she finds joy in being committed and engaged in her work.

Tingle says she considers herself one of the luckiest and most blessed people on the earth to be able to be a part of the Marine Corps journey with her husband. She feels she has grown in many ways.

She began volunteering after her parents came to San Diego for a visit. At first, Tingle was tentative to volunteer at the museum as most of the docents had served in the military, or retired from military service. She pushed back her hesitancy and became one of the museum’s youngest volunteers. Tingle said she expected to work in the gift shop at first, but instead the museum staff made her a docent.

Ever since she began volunteering, her knowledge of the aircraft, missions and history of Marine and naval aviation thrives off of the stories of the veterans with whom she works.

“I can tell you little tidbits about the planes and the helicopters, and I can tell you little things about the displays,” explains Tingle. “But, the other people here working at the museum have had real life experience with these [aircraft] … These are the kind of stories that need to be told.”

Working at the museum has given her the opportunity to meet a variety of veterans willing to recall their experience. As a docent, Tingle often steps back to let the veterans share their story, she explained. Learning about different veterans’ experiences gives her an opportunity to connect one generation to another. This allows her the opportunity to serve as a liaison between the museum, the air station and the local community alike.

Her love of history stems from her father’s influence and love of learning. She remembered the times she spent with her father, reading the plaques for museum exhibits, while her mother and brother sat waiting on them to finish reading.

“That’s where my love of history really came from, is seeing it around us,” Tingle said. “You just have to open your eyes and look for it. It’s just there.”

The influence of history and tradition shines through the decoration of the Tingle home: a 45-star flag displayed in the hall, a Texas flag hung in the stairway, a cross made of a camouflaged web belt and an antique piano with antique flutes and fifes, and Marine Corps coins on top.

Tingle’s husband, Cpl. Jesse Tingle, a Mesquite, Texas, native, also shares his love of history through his work and his interests. He said the history and tradition of the Marine Corps inspired him long before he enlisted.

“Looking at the kind of person that Marines produce and the kind of reputation Marines have, I wanted to have that,” said Jesse Tingle. “So I joined, and that promise is one that’s been kept. I’m a different person than I was when I joined. They issued me a voice, issued me some guts and they taught me to never quit. I’ll always be thankful to the Marine Corps for these things.”

In addition to using his musical talent to serve his country, Jesse Tingle also collects historical American flags. He began collecting at a young age – Jesse Tingle received a 48-star flag from his father when he was just two years old.

Some of his other prized flags include a modern flag, flown during the dedication of the Miramar National Cemetery, a 48-star burial flag given to him by a member of his church, and a 45-star flag he purchased last year.

“I think that the history of the flag is tied up with the history of the nation,” said Jesse Tingle. “You can see, as the nation has grown and states have been added to the union, stars have been added to the flag and the flag has grown. I think it’s important for people to know about - because it’s our flag. It represents us. Men have died for that flag.”

Morgan Tingle says she believes the key to understanding the past is through conservation.

 “Why do we need to preserve this history?” asked Morgan Tingle. “Well, you probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it weren’t for, specifically, the military members who have fought for the things that are so, so dear.”

Morgan Tingle explains that their like-mindedness in their passion for history, their values and their faith helps bring strength to their relationship. All marriages have challenges, she acknowledges, but being in a relationship with a military member creates unique trials. Morgan Tingle said that she believes that her journey has been challenging, but worth the prize.