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Ted Aquaro: Bonds forged in war

Posted: November 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.

On Nov. 10, I was honored to help prepare a traditional Marine Corps meal (SOS) for Marine veterans at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum. The attendees are mostly active and retired police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

All Marines were asked to stand up and identify themselves, their units and where they served. One retiree stood and said he was not a Marine, but he wore a Marine uniform while he served.

He said, “I was a Navy medic assigned to the Marine Corps.” The room burst into applause as the Marines acknowledged the corpsman who was expected to go into combat along side of the combat troops.

One guest stood and identified himself as a retired lieutenant colonel who has served in the war on terror. His last deployment to Afghanistan cost him nine months in the hospital.

The vets and guests went on enjoying their meal on authentic stainless steel trays and listened to speakers. When the meal was finished the traditional birthday cake was served, and everyone waited with bated breath for the door prize drawing.

The door prize list was extensive, with all items being Marine Corps-related. The high point of the drawing is the grand prize, a beautiful cast replica of the Iwo Jima Memorial.

The lieutenant colonel had the winning number; he stepped up to claim the statue and then turned to face the crowd.

Without hesitation, he said he wanted to present it to the old Navy corpsman because if not for Navy corpsmen, he would have never come home from war.

The room erupted into applause at this special display of respect and gratitude from one old warrior to another.

There is a bit of irony here; one of the Marines depicted on the Iwo Jima Memorial is actually a U.S. Navy corpsman, “Doc” Bradley.


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