Naturalized Chief Moved to Serve
Sailor paying success forward
As a child, Chief Hospital Corpsman Kleinne V. Lapid had a dream, a dream of freedom, of success, of service. She dreamed of joining the U.S. military.
Tragedy struck in early 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted, destroying Lapid's home, and debilitating the "province's infrastructures and economic growth." Lapid and her family, as well as many friends and neighbors, lost everything but their memories.
"A part of my childhood is missing because our home got destroyed with all of our photos, so that's why I take a lot of photos now," Lapid said. "Photos are very important to me because of the ones I lost."
American service members came to their aid, and she never forgot.
"I was used to seeing Americans as a young child, but I did not fully understand what they did in our country," said Lapid, now a dental hygienist aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68). "The Americans did everything to help my countrymen in relief and rescue operations. I was in awe of their selflessness and sacrifices. I can still remember clearly the events happening that day - big trucks here and there, men and women in camouflage uniforms, and the presence of hope amid the chaos. I knew right there and then - I wanted to join the military."
Inspired by efforts of the U.S. service members in the aftermath of Pinatubo, Lapid dreamed of what it would be like to go to America and serve. For eight years, the thought rested constantly on her mind, until opportunity finally came calling.