CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The Marine Special Operations Command Foundation along with the U.S. Marine Raider Association held its annual Gold Star Families and Marine Raider Reunion on Aug. 11, 2017 at 1st Marine Raider Battalion Headquarters. Guests joined together to share stories and pay homage to fellow comrades who are no longer with them, as well as to honor the original Marine Raiders.
“My son was a Recon Marine with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he was one of three Marines killed in a green-on-blue incident in 2012,” said Thomas Jeschke, Gold Star Family member.
Gold Star Families are the families of service members who have lost their loved ones in combat. The name comes from the service flags that families displayed during World War I, and following conflicts, that included a blue star for every immediate family member that served in the armed forces. When one of those family members was killed in service to our nation the blue star would be replaced with a gold star signifying their sacrifice.
Alongside honoring the families who had lost loved ones, the reunion paid tribute to Marine Raiders of the past.
“This event is not for the guys serving right now, it’s for the guys who served a long time ago so they can come back and see what their efforts had led to,” said Paul Piacentini, a retired Marine Raider.
The original Marine Raiders were established in WWII by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an elite force with its members hand-picked from volunteers throughout the Marine Corps to conduct special light infantry warfare.
“Everything that they’ve done has led to who we are now,” said Piacentini.
During the reunion, guests viewed demonstrations of Explosive Ordnance Disposal equipment, underwater diving and static displays of military vehicles and weapons. They also enjoyed a complimentary dinner to honor the original WWII Marine Raiders.