“Walk 4 Warriors” ends in triumph

I had the pleasure of watching GySgt Roy Brady, Jr., USMC (Retired), finish his cross-country walk at Camp Pendleton yesterday. The Gunny left North Carolina on March 1 to raise awareness of and funds for the Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge.

Here’s a video of his arrival.

I joined members of American Legion Post 365 and others at a reception for GySgt Brady at the Legion’s post on Wednesday. Presented the Gunny with a citation and the Council made a small donation to the Challenge in his honor.

Semper Fi!

Honoring fathers

Update: Our Marine honoree, Sgt Jerald Davila, and his platoon commander appeared on KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego” on June 19. Logistically, we just weren’t able to get our Navy honoree on the show. View the segment.

More than 100 Marines, sailors, family members, and friends attended the inaugural Enlisted Father of the Year awards dinner June 3 at Pacific Views Event Center, Camp Pendleton. The awards are sponsored by the San Diego and Tri-City councils of the Navy League.

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BGen Edward Banta, commanding general, MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, assisted in presenting the Enlisted Father of the Year awards for 2015 to

  • Sgt Jerald Davila, 1st Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group
  • GSM2 (Gas Turbine Systems Technician – Mechanical, Second Class) Andrew White, Assault Craft Unit Five
Marine Enlisted Father of the Year Sgt Jerald Davila and wife, Connie.
Marine Enlisted Father of the Year Sgt Jerald Davila and wife, Connie.
Navy Enlisted Father of the Year GSM2 Andrew White, his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Kinley.
Navy Enlisted Father of the Year GSM2 Andrew White, his wife, Jennifer, and youngest daughter, Kinley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nineteen Marines and sailors were nominated by their commands for the award.

The 18 nominees present, flanked by Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, left, and Jon Berg-Johnsen, President, San Diego Council.
The 18 nominees present, flanked by Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, left, and Jon Berg-Johnsen, President, San Diego Council.

The nominees, in addition to the two award winners, were, in alphabetical order:

  • SSgt David Castiaux, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
  • SSgt Cromwell Downs, 3d Assault Amphibian Battalion
  • GySgt Chamous Duhachek, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines
  • HM2 David Flores, Field Medical Training Battalion-West
  • SSgt Sean Fordham, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
  • Sgt Joseph McDonald, 1st Maintenance Battalion
  • Sgt Hudson Nall, Field Medical Training Battalion-West
  • HM1 Corey Nasfell, Battalion Landing Team 2/4
  • GySgt Peter Parker, 1st Intelligence Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force
  • Cpl Gabriel Parks, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines
  • Sgt Eric Regan, 7th Engineer Support Battalion
  • Cpl George Sanchezrobledo, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines
  • SSgt Johnny Santana, Headquarters and Support Battalion, School of Infantry-West
  • Sgt Thomas Settle, Company C, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West
  • SSgt David Simons, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
  • LCpl Daniel Taylor, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division
  • SSgt David Treadwell, Wounded Warrior Battalion-West

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event. Special thanks to Gloriana Arifin, from Classic Chariots, lead event sponsor, for the photos in this post.

This event joined efforts already undertaken by the Navy League in San Diego to honor women and mothers in the Sea Services, as well as spouses. It was the first such event in this area and was limited to commands at Camp Pendleton. Together, the two Navy League councils will  consider expanding it to include commands at other facilities, or extend to San Diego-wide.

As mentioned above, Classic Chariots, headed by Mehdi Chitgari, immediate past president of the Tri-City Council, was lead sponsor of the event. Table sponsors were:

  • AutoZone Auto Stereo
  • Cox Cable
  • Edmonds
  • Miramar Federal Credit Union
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NK Towing
  • Oceanside Therapy Group
  • Pioneer Services
  • USS Midway Museum

Honoring honor graduates

HM3 Cody Limauro, honor graduate, with Brandon Vinton of NFCU, right, and Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, at June 12, 2015, graduation ceremonies .
HM3 Cody Limauro, honor graduate, with Brandon Vinton of NFCU, right, and Bill McDonald, president, Tri-City Council, 12 June 2015.

One of the ongoing efforts of the Tri-City Council is working with our community affiliate, Navy Federal Credit Union, to honor the honor graduate of each class of the Field Medical Service Technician Course — the Navy hospital corpsmen who aid Marines — at Camp Pendleton.

Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015
Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015

These young men and their classmates join the famed “Devil Docs” and the brotherhood of Navy Corpsmen and Marines. The rating of Hospital Corpsman is the most decorated in the US Navy, with individuals receiving 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 946 Silver Stars, and 1,582 Bronze Stars. Those participating in the service technician course undergo rigorous military training to be able to assist the Marines.

Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014
Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014

 

Wonderful night in WOXOF

Members and friends of the Tri-City Council enjoyed camaraderie, dinner, and an update on today’s Marine Corps at its dinner March 6, held in the distinctive WOXOF Room at the MCAS Miramar Officers’ Club.

Col. John Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, addresses the Tri-City Council dinner.
Col. John Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, addresses the Tri-City Council dinner. Photo by John Fontanini

As you can see in the photo above, the ambience of the WOXOF Room is quite unlike the generic look of the other banquet and conference rooms at the O Club. As speaker Col. John Farnam, a Naval Flight Officer, explained, WOXOF is an acronym that stands for “weather obscured, zero visibility, and fog.” That means no flying and when that happens pilots visit the bar.

Dinner attendees. The ceiling is intended to represent the weather conditions described by WOXOF. Photo by John Fontanini
Dinner attendees. The ceiling is intended to represent the weather conditions described by WOXOF. Photo by John Fontanini

Col. Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, gave the gathering a status report on Marine Corps manning, described recent USMC activities and exercises, described plans for new hangars to accommodate new platforms, and shared updates on the ever-popular Miramar Air Show. The CO said he would end his time at Miramar in late summer, but stay local, moving to a position at Camp Pendleton, and looked forward to continuing to work with the Navy League.

Airman Elise Odom, Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Airman Elise Odom, Naval Sea Cadet Corps. At right is Bob Rombach, regional director of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Photo by John Fontanini

Members of the Gunfighter Squadron, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, based at MCAS Miramar, and one of the youth groups supported by the Tri-City Council, constituted the color guard for the event. Four of them stayed for dinner and shared their experiences with other guests. Airman Elise Odom was especially recognized for her upcoming summer as a Plebe at the US Naval Academy, which she will enter in the fall.

Also receiving special recognition was Mehdi Chitgari, immediate past president of the Tri-City Council. He was presented a placque acknowledging his exemplary service to the Council.

Several representatives of the Council’s community affiliates attended the dinner, including representatives of Classic Chariots, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Miramar Federal Credit Union.

Here is a gallery of other views of the WOXOF Room.

Prior to the dinner, several Council members and friends visited the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum, adjacent to the Miramar Officers’ Club. Docents stayed past their usual closing time to describe the wide range of exhibits and static displays of vintage aircraft. The museum is open to the public (accessible without entering MCAS Miramar) and is free of charge. It is a great collection of artifacts and aircraft, hosted by very helpful docents, nearly all of whom are former Marine aviators.

Docent John Pierce, at right, describes one of the guns on display to Ed Languid, area president of the Navy League, center, and Bruce Renne,  v-p for membership, San Diego Council, Navy League.
Docent John Pierce, at right, describes one of the guns on display to Ed Langmaid, area president of the Navy League, center, and Bruce Renne, v-p for membership, San Diego Council, Navy League.

One of the particularly iconic aircraft on display is this CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter.

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It is the very helicopter in which US Ambassador Graham Martin evacuated Saigon, South Vietnam, on 30 April 1975, signaling the end of official US presence in Vietnam. During the several days previous to the ambassador’s evacuation, dozens of Marine helicopter crews had brought 1,373 Americans and nearly 6,000 Vietnamese and other foreign nationals to US ships offshore.

Here is a gallery of some of the other exhibits and displays at the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum.