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Blinn College proves a strong launching point for MCAS Yuma commanding officer

Col. David Suggs has been awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals

December 15, 2017

Col. David A. Suggs (third from left), Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and a Blinn College alumnus, joined the Blinn College football team at the El Toro Bowl earlier this month. Joining Suggs in the photo are (from left) redshirt freshman Antwuan Jackson, Jr., Blinn football coach Ryan Mahon, and freshman Devin Williams.


When the Blinn College football team arrived in Yuma, Ariz., for the El Toro Bowl earlier this month, they found a friendly face in Col. David A. Suggs.

A Blinn College alumnus and the commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Suggs reached out to Blinn football coach Ryan Mahon as soon as he heard that the Buccaneer football team would be coming.

Suggs and his wife Karyn met on the Blinn-Brenham Campus, where he played football from 1986-88 and she was a captain for the dance team (1985-87). 

“He told me about their backstory with Blinn College and it was too good to be true,” said Mahon, whose father is an ex-Marine. “We instantly made him our guest of honor and invited him to all the El Toro Bowl events and to speak to the team.”

Suggs greeted the Buccaneers as they arrived at the hotel and joined the team at the pre-game press conference.

“How often do you get the chance to have a colonel speak to your team?” Mahon said. “My guys were captivated by him.”

Suggs has completed deployments to Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Iraq. His military accolades include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (with strike/flight numeral “13”), Air Medal (with individual/flight numeral “2” with combat V), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with three awards and combat V), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit awards and campaign medals. He has accumulated more than 2,400 flight hours.

Suggs attended Blinn College for five semesters and earned an associate degree before he transferred to Texas A&M University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in political science in 1990.

“The professors at Blinn were always available and genuinely wanted to make sure that their students were set up for success, which is a huge building block,” Suggs said. “I had the right coaches that taught me how to be a young adult and professors who influenced me, which really laid a foundation.”

Suggs particularly was influenced by Government Professor Joel Franke, who encouraged him to become more involved in politics during his final semester. Suggs joined the Young Republicans, student government, and worked on George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign in Washington County. 

“I had planned on majoring in engineering, but because of my political science professor getting me involved with politics, I completely changed my major at A&M,” Suggs said. “Blinn is the perfect spot for a lot of kids coming out of high school. I had a great college experience there.”

In 2011, Suggs graduated from Top Level School at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. where he received a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.