A reunion to remember
FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 15, 2013 —
By Steve Marschke
Sailor Joseph Pinola had been at sea for eight months on the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. So he had not yet met his five-month old daughter when he returned to town on April 29.
Still, the 22-year old West Sacramentan said he had just been joking when he told his wife Kathy he wanted a big to-do when he flew in at the Sacramento airport. The couple spoke over the phone as they talked about his return.
“I was playing around,” said Joseph. “I said I wanted a news crew and a whole bunch of people at the airport.”
She and some other family members obliged – without telling him. When her husband came down the escalator from the airport terminal, there was a mob of about 15 festive family members waiting for him.
Plus a KCRA TV news crew, with a camera pointed at Joseph’s face.
Video of the event shows Joseph Pinola in his Navy uniform, looking pretty dumbfounded by the welcome. But also pretty happy.
“I was shocked,” he told the News-Ledger. “I was like a deer in the headlights. I didn’t know what to do.”
Joseph and Kathy met at Golden State Middle School (currently the Riverbank Elementary campus) as students. They graduated from River City High School in 2009. She’s 21, formerly Kathy Onsy. They started dating as young teens in 2005.
When Joseph left port on the Stennis, the couple didn’t even know they were going to have a baby. The ship has spent time in the Persian Gulf, supporting air missions to Afghanistan. Joseph Pinola’s job has been to help the aircraft taxi and move around on the carrier.
“On April Fool’s Day, she called me and said, ‘I took a pregnancy test, and I’m pregnant,’” recalls Joseph.
“I took like eight pregnancy tests, but I still didn’t believe it,” Kathy added.
Little Kaylee – born at 6 pounds, 4.2 ounces and 21 inches long – is doing great.
“She always has a smile on her face, every single morning,” reports Kathy Pinola.
Joseph’s uncle, Mickey Fausett of West Sacramento, finds it amusing that Pinola is a Navy man.
“I used to take him sailing,” remembers Fausett. “One time, I remember he looked around and said, ‘Boy, there’s a lot of water out here – can we go back in now?’”
The Pinola family is getting ready to go to Washington state – the Stennis is homeported at Bremerton. There, Joseph Pinola will wait for his next Navy orders. He expects to stay on land and is hoping for a post in California.
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