Gunnery Sergeant (Ret.) David “Mac” McFarland served in the Marine Corps for 16 years. Mac began his military career in the infantry but was soon selected for Counterintelligence (CI) school and became an 0211 CI Agent, with tours of duty in Panama, Haiti, Africa, England, and more. In 2001 he became a credentialed Special Agent with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). During his time with NCIS, Gunny Mac was assigned to the Combatting Terrorism Directorate where he worked on task forces investigating the events of the bombing of the USS COLE in Yemen and 9/11. Later, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. At the height of his military career, Mac became seriously ill and was forced to retire early at the age of 35; he lost his battle seven years later. Mac was known for his make-mission attitude, his larger-than-life personality, his love and dedication to his family - especially his wife and three sons - and his unwavering faith in God. 

Character Strength Story: I remember he used to tell me not to worry about him. He would tell me, “Jen, I’m 10 feet tall and bulletproof!” I think I actually believed him. During all the years of his illness he seemed to take it in stride. What would bring most men to their knees would just slow Mac down a little. It would take him two months instead of one month to remodel the kitchen or add another level to the deck. So when he died, I had to admit somehow that my Marine husband was not actually 10 feet tall and bulletproof. He had succumbed to heart failure and would no longer be leading our family. Now, I fully realize how very wrong I was to doubt that Mac was 10 feet tall and bulletproof. I was at his side that night when his heart started to fail for the last time. He knew what was coming. He was awake mostly and very clear headed. He wasn’t scared. All he wanted was his notebook. Those who visited Mac in the hospital know about the notebook. At the end of each visit, Mac would ask his visitors to share their favorite scripture with him. He would find a blank page in his notebook and write it at the top. Each night, he would look up the scriptures he collected during the day and either copy the scripture in his notebook or jot down his own thoughts on what he had read. On that final night when he was faced with death, all he wanted was his notebook. He wanted nothing more than to be close to God; to the One who was about to give him a new heart and eternal life. He wanted nothing more because he knew that was all he needed. You see, he WAS 10 feet tall and bulletproof… because three months before he died Mac accepted Christ as his personal Savior. There is simply no other assurance of eternal life out there. Today, while I am still incredibly sad to have lost my husband and the father to my three young boys, I am filled with gratitude and pride in knowing that Mac is still leading this family with the powerful example he left for us in his unfailing love for the Lord. What a lucky girl I am! -Submitted by Jennifer, David's Wife

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