Part III of Centre View's series on local residents serving in the War in Iraq is about three graduates of Centreville High. To share stories of your loved ones, too, call 703-917-6430 or e-mail email@example.com.
Chris Margoupis is only 23, but he's already accomplished a lot. This 1997 Centreville High grad has a wife and two children, maintains missiles for the Marines and is currently serving on a ship in the Mediterranean.
"He called Sunday night from Crete and sounded fine," said dad Tom Margoupis of Aldie. "His ship, the USS Nashville, is with two other ships that have gone in to northern Iraq. His hasn't, yet, but might be called on to help at Iraq's border with Syria."
Chris grew up in Centreville's Xanadu Estates community; mom Cindy now lives in Clifton. He also has a stepmom, Kathy; sister Gabrielle, 20, a GMU junior; brother Danny, 16, a Paul VI junior; stepbrother Shaun, 24, who works in Tysons Corner; and stepsister Nikki, 22, who works in Loudoun County. Chris and his wife Jennifer, who's staying with her parents in Vermont while he's gone, have a son Keegan, 4, and a daughter, Kyleigh, 2.
In high school, Chris played guard/forward for the JV basketball team, and he plays both baseball and basketball for the Marines. He joined in 1998 and spent his first couple years at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C.
"He's the only Marine in the family — he said it was what he wanted to do," said his father. However, he comes from a long line of military men. "I had three uncles in World War II and I was in Vietnam in the Air Force," said Margoupis. "My uncles and dad were in the Army, and one of my uncles drove a tank for [Gen. George] Patton."
A lance corporal, Chris works on the Avenger Missile System (similar to the Patriots), which protects airfields and cities from incoming missiles and aircraft. He left for the Mediterranean, March 6, with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
"He said it was a little dicey going through the Suez Canal, a few weeks ago," said Margoupis. "They were all on alert, making sure everything was OK. But we've done such a good job of decimating the Iraquis that he's just out there floating — I hope he stays in the boat for six months."
Chris e-mails his dad, every other day, and calls when he can. "I think he's bored, more than anything else," said Margoupis. "He's playing a lot of hearts and video games and catching up on his reading. He bought the entire 'Lord of the Rings' series, and I'm sending him 'The Odyssey,' because I thought it would be appropriate now."
While Margoupis is naturally concerned for his son, he has confidence in him and his abilities. "He's trained for this," said his father. "It's a cause that not only he believes in, but I believe in."
He said Chris may consider a career with one of the defense contractors when his stint in the Marines is over but, for now, he's concentrating on the job at hand. "We're all hoping this will be over very soon," said Margoupis. "Although it's a little worrisome, at times, we're proud of Chris and know he can take care of himself."