FishHawk residents George and Connie Bradshaw have a rich family history of military service going back almost 200 years. In fact, their ancestors have fought in every major conflict, going back to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.
“My family arrived in America in 1710 and settled in what is now North Carolina,” said George.
Thanks to a few good genealogists in the family and easy access to online records, his family tree is filled with photos and stories of his ancestors. There is a grainy black-and-white image of his great-great-grandfather, Thomas Bradshaw, in his military uniform. He was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. His grandfather served in the Army in 1916 during World War I. His father fought in the Korean War.
Connie’s ancestors also have served in the military. Her uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu when it was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Luckily, his ship was at sea during the attack.
It was these stories and more that their five children grew up hearing, so it’s no wonder it sparked a desire to serve in uniform. “We’re a patriotic family,” said daughter Taylor. “Daddy would always tell us about our ancestors being in the military, and so growing up they were an example to us.”
Her older brother, Jared, was first to enlist in the Marines after graduating from Newsome in 2014. An E-4 corporal, he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, working logistics for Air Force One during the Trump administration.
“I joined to serve my country and to give back, but the military has taught me so many valuable lessons, including leadership skills, perseverance in the face of adversity and a commitment to something bigger than myself,” he said.
Taylor, a 2015 Newsome graduate, enlisted in the Navy after graduation. An EN3(SW), she was stationed in Guam and served as a diesel mechanic/small boat engineer assigned to the USS Frank Cable.
“I wanted to see a lot of the world and I liked the idea of being on the ocean,” she said.
She saw quite a bit of the world. Deployments took her to the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Hawaii and Marshall Island.
Her term of service was completed in 2019 and she is now an inactive reservist. Her husband is in the Air Force and training at a Texas air base.
Her brother McKay knew from an early age he wanted to make the military a career.
“When he was little, he would make guns and hand grenades out of cardboard,” said her mom. “He always knew he wanted to serve.”
He was a JROTC cadet while at Newsome and joined the Marines after graduating in 2018. A lance corporal E-3, he is now a reservist but hopes to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) after graduating from college.
The Bradshaws’ youngest son, Luke, graduated from Newsome in 2020. He also was in Newsome’s JROTC program and is following in his siblings’ footsteps.
“My dream is to be a Seal,” he said. Luke has enlisted in the Navy and will be leaving for boot camp later this year.
The Bradshaws are grateful for the example of their ancestors who sacrificed their time and lives in service of their country and inspired their children to do the same.
“We are truly blessed,” they said.