SAN FRANCISCO --
Three wounded Marines at a veteran’s hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., had the company of brethren Oct. 7 when service members participating in this city’s 2010 Fleet Week paid a visit there.
Six Marines and two sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and two sailors serving aboard USS Makin Island shook hands and thanked the wounded warriors.
“We wanted to bring Fleet Week to these Marines …,” said Navy Cmdr. Lee Axtell, 11th MEU chaplain. “We wanted to show them that they are not forgotten.”
The visitors, who sailed into San Francisco Bay Oct. 6 from San Diego aboard Makin Island, spent time hanging out with the wounded Marines and family members. They talked about everything from deployments to sports.
It is important for recovering Marines to be treated like Marines, explained Navy Cmdr. Eric Stedje-Larsen, officer-in-charge of Fleet Surgical Team 5 aboard Makin Island.
“The more often we visit the wounded warriors, the more we embed the fact that we care,” said Axtell.
After visiting, the service members thanked the staff for their hard work and dedication to the recovery of the injured and ill military personnel in their care.
“Coming here was good because it’s important to let (the wounded) know people care. I’ve been there, and I know how it is,” said Cpl. Jesse Williams, a mortarman with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Given the overwhelming daily amount of requests, the hospital frequently turns down visitors, said Stedje-Larsen. The visiting service members are fortunate to have visited these wounded Marines.