Cpl. Jordan E. Williams, a 22-year-old radio operator from 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, one of the veterans at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital, describes his injury to 2nd Lt. Joshua Abraham, a platoon commander, and Staff Sgt. Juan A. Chantaca Jr., a platoon sergeant, both with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Oct. 7, 2011. Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen visited the VA hospital as part of San Francisco Fleet Week. The event is an opportunity for the Navy-Marine Corps team to serve the community and demonstrate their readiness and ability to respond to a sudden crisis. Photo by
USMC Lance Cpl. Joshua Young
SAN FRANCISCO (10/7/2011) - Second Lt. Joshua J. Abraham, a platoon
commander with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, led his
Marines in a unique mission Oct. 7 in the city of Palo Alto, Calif.
Six of his Marines, along with some sailors and Coast Guardsmen,
visited the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital as part of a
community relations outing for San Francisco Fleet Week.
Fleet Week is an occasion filled with opportunities for service
members to give back to the community. Service members accomplished
their mission when they disembarked the USS Bonhomme Richard, which
is ported in San Francisco's Pier 32, and visited the VA hospital to
chat and interact with the veterans from the nation's most recent
conflict in Afghanistan to the Korean War.
sergeant and I had talked about this specific [Fleet Week] event and
how we wanted to get on it,” said Abraham, a 29-year-old from
Medina, Ohio. “It just so happened that they picked our unit to
represent the Marine Corps here.”
The service members were
greeted with salutes, handshakes and veterans who couldn't wait to
tell where they had served and with which service.
seemed pretty thrilled to meet us,” said Pfc. Dustin Griffith, a
24-year-old light armored vehicle crewman with 1st LAR, from
Petersburg, Ky. “If someone gets the chance to come here, I don't
think they should pass up the opportunity to talk to the veterans.”
Some of the veterans connected with the young service members,
either through the job they had or the military branch they served.
“I talked to a corporal who was from 3rd LAR. He worked with the
same vehicles we do,” Griffith said. “I spoke to him about his
experiences and it was nice to meet someone who works in the same
field as we do. He seemed excited, willing and eager to talk to us.
He was very open and he felt comfortable about it.”
The Marines sat with several of the veterans during lunch
and traded stories and laughter. The lifted spirits were a
mutual feeling among the service members and veterans, and
many had great things to say about it.
humbling for everybody who was here,” Abraham said. “What
amazed me the most was how good their attitudes were. You
would think that after such a traumatic event in your life
you would feel sorry for yourself. These guys didn't at all.
They are awesome.”
The service members weren't the
only ones who benefited from this visit. The veterans, as
well as the hospital staff, said they enjoy having military
members who are currently serving to talk to.
the opportunity to meet a soldier who just got here a few
days ago,” Abraham said. “He really appreciated the fact
that we stopped by because he is familiar with the military
family. It's a culture shock to come from a military unit
then go to a hospital where civilians surround you. That
young man was comfortable around us.”
This trip was
the second of three hospital visits scheduled for Fleet
Week. Community outreach programs are an opportunity for the
Navy-Marine Corps team to showcase their ability to respond
to crises and interact with people in the Bay Area.
More associated images in frame below
By USMC Lance Cpl. Joshua Young
Comment on this article