Former Naval officer honored with ball field dedication
ROTA, Spain — U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain dedicated a baseball field May 8 to an officer who was killed last year while deployed to Camp Liberty in Iraq.

ROTA, Spain — U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain dedicated a baseball field May 8 to an officer who was killed last year while deployed to Camp Liberty in Iraq.

The the ball field was named in honor of Navy Cmdr. Charles K. Springle. Springle was one of five people killed by an Army sergeant at a military counseling clinic with the Army 55th Medical Company Combat Stress Center in Baghdad.

"Springle was a true American hero who died in service to his country, selflessly providing care to those who were forward deployed," said Navy Capt. Donna Styles, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain. "It was his selfless devotion to duty and service to others that we honor today."

Springle served in Rota three times during his career. His first tour was from 1994 to 1998 when he served as the chief of ancillary services and team leader for the Southwest Europe Special Intervention Response Team.

In 2003, Springle returned to Rota as the deputy director medical services and oversaw mental health, social work, early developmental intervention services and substance abuse rehabilitation services. Finally, in 2007, he returned briefly before transferring to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune as the director of the Community Counseling Center. From Camp Lejeune, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"He is remembered by family and friends as a man who loved life and lived it to the fullest," said Navy Capt. Bill Mosk, NAVSTA commanding officer. "He enjoyed travel, music and sports. Although he was fully dedicated to his work, he also loved his family immensely."

Although the primary focus of his work involved counseling service for suffering from battle stress, multiple deployments and family issues, Springle had a passion for baseball, said Bond Henry, one of the David G. Farragut (DGF) High School baseball coaches.

"When Springle coached here in Rota, he not only had to organize practice and field a team," said Henry. "He had to research and find teams to play high school aged boys. Trust me, that is no easy task. He had to spend countless hours fundraising to have the funds to move a team to places in Europe where he found games for his team."

During the dedication ceremony, the DGF Rota Admirals baseball team presented Springle's old baseball glove to his wife, Susan Springle, and son, Marine Cpl. Charlie Springle.

"We are very proud," said Susan Springle. "We did not realize his catcher's mitt was still here. He would have been very proud."

Mosk said the baseball field dedication was a fitting tribute to Springle.

"Baseball is about teamwork," said Mosk. "It's about helping out your teammates – fittingly, something Springle was exceptionally good at."
 

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