By Jesse Church
Aloha all my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. On Friday, Feb. 20, Sergeant Major Ronald Green will become the top enlisted man in the Marine Corps. Commandant General Joseph Dunford has chosen Sgt. Maj. Green to be the 18th Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps. I join with Marines around the world in congratulating him and wishing him the best in his new job.
In a recent copy of the Marine Times, they reported a problem at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, WI of overmedication of patients and prescription practices. Mario DeSanctis, director of the facility, has reported that he was investigating reports of overmedication in patients before federal officials announced a review of prescription practices. DeSanctis has also stated that his staff is looking into an unusually high rate of opiate prescriptions in 2012 and steps have been taken for correct the problem. VA Secretary Robert McDonald said that his vice secretary will lead a review of medication procedures at Tomah.
On this date in history, Feb. 19, 1945, the U.S. Marines stormed the beaches of a small island in the Pacific Ocean named Iwo Jima. This battle was destined to go down in history as a bloodbath, and the most deadly battle the U.S. Marine Cops ever fought. The battle lasted for about 36 days and in that time, the Marines and Navy Corpsmen sustained 25, 851 casualties. Of that total, almost 7,000 men died from their wounds, and of the 22,000 Japanese defenders, nearly all of them fought to their deaths. The reason for this battle was that American B-29s that could not make it back to their base after attacks on Tokyo were crash landing in the Pacific. Now, they could make emergency landings on Iwo Jima and this saved many aircraft and more importantly, it saved many pilots and crew members. Don’t forget the picture of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. Everyone knows that picture, but nobody can tell you the names of any of the six men: Marines Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Frankin Sousley, Mike Strank, and Navy Corpsman John Bradley.
In my last column, I asked what military band composer was “the March King”? The answer is John Philip Sousa, who wrote “Stars and Stripes Forever” and other classics.
To all our active duty service members, veterans and the people of Molokai who support them, I send you all a big mahalo and I hope you had a great week. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or news, please contact old Jesse at 553-3323. I continue to depend on the information you give me to write this column. Remember that old Jesse loves you all dearly, so until next week, aloha.