Veteran’s Corner

Hello veterans, old Jesse here with all the veterans’ news and upcoming events. Have you ever wondered why gun salutes are rendered in odd numbers? According to the Marine Corps History Division, even numbers are considered unlucky. In naval terms, dating as far back as 1685, firing an even number of shots in a gun salute came to signify that the ships’ captain, master or master gunner had died on a voyage. During the days of sail, superstitions were taken seriously because of the danger of sea voyages, according to the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center.

Two private companies are working with the Department of Defense to develop people-tracking devices for the military to wear on their body, allowing team leaders and platoon commanders to know their every move. It sounds like something out of a Hollywood thriller but both companies brought their systems to a recent demonstration, hosted by the Naval Space and Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego. Representatives say their products, each created independently using existing off-the-shelf technologies, will ultimately save lives with better command-and-control of small-level units dispersed across the battlefield.

A new study indicates veterans who have tried suicide once are at significantly higher risk for eventually dying at their own hands. A review of Veterans Affairs Dept. records for 10,163 veterans who had attempted suicide between 1993 and 1998 showed that by 2002, some 1,836 had died, a rate three times higher than for the same age and gender group in the general population. Among male veterans, suicide was the second-leading cause of death, behind heart disease. For female veterans, suicide was the number one cause of death. In all, suicides accounted for more than 13 percent of deaths in the subject group. In comparison, suicide was the cause of death for 1.8 percent of the general population during the same time period.

I would like to share a little history I find interesting. On July 29, 1846, the sloop Cyane anchored in San Diego Bay, sending a detachment of Marines and sailors to claim San Diego and part of Mexico for the U.S., according to the Naval Heritage and History Command. The landing occurred as part of the Mexican-American war, which began that year. The war started due to the U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico still considered part of its territory. Landing at La Playa in an area of what is now Point Loma, the Marines and sailors marched five miles to the heart of town. There, they raised the national flag for the first time over the town, according to the National Park Service. Their landing went unopposed as they were warmly welcomed by pro-American civilians. The Marines and sailors established an outpost and named it Fort Dupont after the Cyane’s skipper Capt. Samuel F. Dupont. The detachment stayed only 11 days before marching to Los Angeles, leaving only a small guard behind. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed Fort Stockton after Commodore Robert F. Stockton. The war ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and r¬¬¬¬¬esulted in the U.S. gaining more than 525,000 square miles of territory, according the Library of Congress. As compensation for the land lost, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million and assumed the debt that the Mexican government owed to private citizens in the newly acquired territory.

Let us remember that we have thousands of American troops around the world, with a good many in harm’s way. Let’s give them our support and let them know we appreciate all they do for us. Let’s also remember our veterans at home for all they have done for us. I would like to send a big mahalo to all military personnel, veterans and the people of Molokai. You are the best and I love you all. If you have any news or stories that you would like to share, give old Jesse a yell at 553-3323.


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