Fresno State ag operations mechanic Danny Sexton, 46, marked his return from an eight-month U.S. Navy deployment to Afghanistan by presenting an American flag to the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology on Tuesday.
The 10-year Fresno State employee presented the 3-foot by 5-foot flag to his coworkers to thank them for their support while he was on active duty.
The E6 petty officer first class returned to Fresno in late November after his stint at Bagram Air Base near Charikar, Afghanistan, where he served as an equipment operator.
“Fresno State was very supportive and held my job while I was gone,” Sexton said. “I wanted to give one of the flags we flew back to the Jordan College to show how much I appreciated their support.”
In Afghanistan, he served on the logistics task force for transportation, and his main duties involved moving cargo and soldiers to other nearby destinations. At Fresno State, he maintains campus vehicles of all sizes.
“I enjoy both jobs because I’ve always liked working on equipment,” Sexton said. “They are complementary since I can fix things on my campus job and operate machinery in the military. I can also use the other position’s skills when necessary without missing a beat.”
While away last year, he kept in close contact with his family and friends through Facebook, cell phone and mail. He watched his granddaughter grow up on Skype. He also tracked the Bulldogs football team online and emailed coworkers to keep up on campus news.
Sexton enlisted in the Navy in 1986 after high school to follow the career path of an uncle who had also served in the military. That move began a 20-plus year stint that began with five years of active duty in Europe and Florida. After a 10-year break, he re-enlisted in July 2001 and has been a reservist since.
He has served two other 10-month deployments in Iraq (2003) and Kuwait (2009-10).
When he returned home the day before Thanksgiving, it made the holidays even more special for his wife Kathy, stepson and 14-month-old granddaughter Victoria.
“My wife hadn’t planned on me being there for Thanksgiving so it was pretty special when I texted her a couple days before,” Sexton said. “She was a little shocked and went into overdrive to get everything ready for an early return.”