After serving 21 years in the Marine Corps, Clint Hunt arrived back home in Parker County to a surprise earlier this week.
Family, friends, veterans and the Weatherford Fire Department gathered at “The Rock” on Mineral Wells Highway waving flags to welcome Hunt home.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hunt’s retirement ceremony and reception were canceled, but that didn’t stop his family from putting together something special.
“We definitely still wanted to be able to honor him and it wasn’t going to be in the same manner than we had previously thought or in a way that I felt like he warranted, but it was nice to at least be able to show up and honor him and have people from the community do that,” Clint’s wife, Alana Hunt, said. “We just felt blessed that people were there and that they felt it was important as well. It was not what it was supposed to be, but still a great day.”
Alana said her sister hired professional artist Ruben Orozco with DNG Designz to spray paint “The Rock” between Weatherford and Mineral Wells.
Clint said it was a complete surprise to him as he approached the crowd on the side of U.S. 180 in his truck.
“All those people who showed up [Monday], thank you so much. That was a super cool way to be greeted back to Texas,” Clint said. “It was awesome and it was a complete surprise, I had no clue. I should probably apologize to the motorcycle riders for passing them, I didn’t know I was being escorted.”
Hunt joined the Marine Corps in 1999.
“I joined a couple of years after my brother and we both went to San Diego for boot camp. I then went over to Japan and spent some time in Japan and Korea, came back and was on the East Coast for a while, and then I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan,” Clint said. “I was eventually a gunnery sergeant and then picked up warrant officer, and then was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) in 2017. I just retired from the program office out of Lakehurst, New Jersey.”
In 2002, Clint and Alana got married and over the years had four children — Cole, 16, Karli, 13, Hayden, 5, and Tanner, 4.
Clint was stationed Marine Aircraft Group 41 at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth from 2014-2017 and that’s when he and Alana decided to make Parker County their home.
“We are actually both from northern California, up in the Lake Tahoe area, but once we were stationed here we just fell in love with the area and that’s when we bought and decided this was definitely where we were going to retire,” Clint said. “While we were stationed here my wife’s dad moved out, my wife’s sister and brother-in-law moved out and now we’ve got my mom moving out, and some other family.”
Alana said for the majority of her husband’s career in the Marines, they thought they would settle in Montana.
“But six years ago we got ordered to Fort Worth and we purchased a house in Parker County, and we immediately just fell in love with it,” Alana said. “The people are just kind and generous, we just love the pace of life out here and it’s just beautiful. So soon after we arrived in Fort Worth, we knew we were staying.”
Clint said he’s excited to get back to normal life following his service, but isn’t sure what’s next for him.
“I’m just excited to get back to a normal life and not have to shave my face every day — I can grow my hair out,” Clint said with a laugh. “I think right now we’re just focused on getting settled in and getting the kids back in the community. Next, I don’t know. We’ll wait and see what happens.”
But Alana said she will miss being a Marine Corps wife.
“I was heartbroken when we finally made the decision for him to retire because it’s like a member of our family, this ever-present part of our lives, and the Marine Corps has been very good to us. It’s provided us with an amazing opportunity that I would have never had and so that was really sad to walk away from,” Alana said. “I honestly loved being a Marine Corps wife — it really suited me and it wasn’t always easy, but I have a special affection for it.
“It’s nice that everybody is back together again, but it’s strange to be on this side of the Marine Corps. We spent the majority of our lives attached to the Marine Corps.”