Sailors spend Flag Day with Senior veterans

Publish Date:

Friday, June 14, 2013

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DVIDS News

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SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center Ventura County visited two assisted living homes in the Santa Clarita area to spend time with World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans on Flag Day, June 14. VITAS Innovative Hospice Care arranged the visits at the Pacific Senior Living and the Sunrise Senior Living assisted living centers.

NOSC Ventura County provided the color guard to open the event and Lydsey Hale, the veterans’ community liaison for VITAS, handled master of ceremonies duties.

“We are honored to be here,” said Hale, military family descendent and Navy spouse. “It is important to honor our flag, the symbol of the United States and the veterans who served our nation.”

The national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance were performed, followed by speaker Capt. Ronald Oswald, commanding officer, NOSC Ventura County.

“I want to say ‘thank you.' You are the Greatest Generation,” said Oswald, a third generation military man. Both Oswald’s grandfathers served during World War II.

Oswald spoke of the importance of learning the stories from past veterans to cement the bond that will carry on the tradition and give current military service members the foundation they may rely on during their service and in life.

“I am very proud of everybody here doing their duty,” said Sunrise resident Eva Mars, native of Berlin, Germany, and Holocaust survivor. Mars was held in a Japanese concentration camp in China during World War II. “To me, I do not look at names, color or religion. Everybody is the same on the inside. It is important to remember the past and learn from it,” she said.

Sailors under Oswald’s command spoke to the audience, thanking and mingling with the veterans, and exchanging stories.

“This is a good deal. It shows their appreciation to have the sailors here,” said former Boatswain’s Mate Bill Allin. The 90-year-old Sunrise resident joined the Navy when he was asked to leave high school in Eagle Park, Calif. “I was disrupting and causing too much turmoil.”

Allin said he had hundreds of sea stories. He chuckled about the fights he had with Marines in the clubs and solemnly recounted the battles he and the crew of USS Custer were involved in during the war.

The sailors circuited both centers to talk to the veterans. Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Christina Tan met Dr. George Cobley at Pacifica Center, who served at Camp Roberts. Cobley laughed when he told her about working in the pharmaceutical dispensary because the Army didn’t know what to do with a pediatrician.

“It’s an honor to meet someone who paved the way. Some are already in their final years.” said Garza, Mexican native, raised in Texas. “Even though I was born in another country they make me feel a part of the military. It’s an awesome experience.”

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