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Hudson Marine meets Hillary Clinton

Marine Cpl. Brett H. Sortland of Hudson, left, has his photo taken with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her stop at the Yokota Air Base in Japan on Feb. 22. Submitted photo

Rand Sortland thought his son might be playing a joke on him when a photo arrived by e-mail showing the younger Sortland standing next to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Hey, thought you'd like this picture of me and the First Lady kickin' it," Marine Cpl. Brett H. Sortland of Hudson said in the message to his father.

The photo showed his son and other Marines with Clinton in a hangar on the Yokota Air Base in Japan.

Brett has been known to play practical jokes, so his dad did some investigating to make sure that he hadn't Photoshopped himself into the picture.

"You don't get much info from him," Rand explained.

But the elder Sortland's search turned up the same photo on a Department of Defense Web site.

Clinton's airplane stopped at the air base to refuel at the end of her first overseas trip as secretary of state. She used the occasion to thank the military personnel there for their service.

"We are so grateful for each and every one of you, the work that you do every single day, and to all of the men and women serving around the globe on behalf of the United States of America," Clinton was quoted as saying by the Air Force news service.

She was said to have addressed an audience of more than 350 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and family members.

Cpl. Sortland enlisted in the Marines on Sept. 11, 2006. He and Matt Kurki, a fellow member of Hudson High School's class of 2003, signed up together.

Sortland attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth for a couple of years after high school. His dad said he was looking for some direction in his life when he joined the Marines.

"He seems to thrive on the discipline," said the elder Sortland, a Hudson financial planner.

Cpl. Sortland has been promoted three times. His current rank of corporal is just below that of sergeant.

He's been stationed on Okinawa for about a year and a half, but happened to be at Yokota Air Base for training when Clinton visited.

His dad said he enjoys spear-fishing in the waters off Okinawa and touring Japan on its bullet trains.

Rand Sortland and his wife, Bonnie, have another son, Dane, who will soon graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in economics.

The Sortlands have been residents of the town of St. Joseph since 1987.

Sortland's company is the Bridge Investment Group, located in the River Ridge Professional Building at 1200 Hosford St.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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