When Cadet Senior Airman Devin Linehan honored U.S. Marines and other service members killed in Afghanistan by playing taps outside his Nevada home with an American flag at half-staff Aug. 26, he had no idea the impact it would have.
A video of his late-night tribute taken by his father, Sean Linehan — a former Marine himself — has since gone viral. Since the video first appeared Aug. 26 on Facebook, millions all over the world have viewed it and hundreds — including Civil Air Patrol's national leaders — have responded to the youth’s simple gesture of respect.
“The response to my video was very unexpected,” said Devin Linehan, 14, a member of the Nevada Wing’s Carson City Composite Squadron.
“When I heard about the bombing in Afghanistan, I was upset and sad for the Marines’ families,” he said. “Then I asked what I could do … and my mom suggested for me to play taps on my bugle and honor those who died that fateful day, so I did. I played with all my heart and prayers.”
Sean Linehan said the video wasn’t intended to generate any recognition. Rather, it was a tribute honoring those who sacrificed their lives to evacuate and save the lives of others. “We are honestly dumbfounded at the response as the video was not intended to be anything bigger,” he said. “Devin sees himself as an average kid who loves his country and the Air Force. He grew up in the Marine Corps while I was on active duty, but his heart is U.S. Air Force.”
Sean Linehan was a CAP cadet and a senior member while on Marine duty at Camp Pendleton, California, and said he plans to rejoin CAP this coming winter. “My son was enamored by the Air Force, so I guided him toward Civil Air Patrol,” he said.
Devin Linehan said his goal is to become an Air Force pilot, so joining CAP like his father seemed like a good idea.
The experience has been worth it. “Becoming a Civil Air Patrol cadet was a whole lot more than what I thought it would be,” he said. “I have taken as many opportunities such as orientation flights, search and rescue exercises and encampment. Also, Civil Air Patrol taught me the core values of integrity, respect, voluntary service and excellence in all we do, which I try to live by in all areas of my life.”
The organization’s newly installed national commander/CEO, Maj. Gen. Ed Phelka, was not surprised to learn of the cadet’s tribute. “Our cadets honor the service of members of the military,” he said. “They have great respect for the sacrifice our military members are willing to give. I’m touched by this story!”
CAP’s national vice commander, Brig. Gen. Regena Aye, agreed. “One can feel how powerful music can be in this video,” she said. “Thank you for sharing this.”