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Zama Trojans!!!

March 21, 2008

That’s the name of the high school team that children of men and women serving at Camp Zama in Tokyo attend. Wake (his wife Stacey), Mike Timlin (and his son Jake), Brian Corey and I had the honor of being flown out in UH-60 Blackhawks to Camp Zuma this morning to say hello to the service men and women and their families.

Obviously it was a HUGE honor to allow us inside their lives even for a little bit today. One of the base commanding officers is a born and bred member of Sox Nation so that made the day even better.

Sox Nation was out in full force at the base as well and we had a chance to meet and sign autographs for the families stationed over here.

The flight out and back was a HUGE bonus and a blast, and the men of 011 and 012, that flew us out, did an awesome job. My only concern in chopper 011 was that my pilot was a Yankee fan! Even carrying that burden he was awesome and they did a great job giving us a top down view of Tokyo (which btw houses 14 million people in a city the size of Las Vegas).

I also had the awesome pleasure of meeting some members of “The Warlords” who I assume are stationed over here. These guys are an elite unit of flyers that have sent me some shirts over the past few years that I often wear under my uniform.

Thanks to everyone at Camp Zama for their incredible hospitality and graciousness. It was an honor to say hello today.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. pouncy permalink
    March 21, 2008 3:57 am

    Gaaah! I totally would have gone up to Camp Zama today if I’d known!!!

  2. johnmvp permalink
    March 21, 2008 4:09 am

    Good read as usual, Curt. Keep them coming, love reading your blog.

  3. sardawg06 permalink
    March 21, 2008 4:14 am

    Curt,

    We want to say thank you again for your support. Sean is one of those “Warlords” you met today and we am honored to hear that you wear our squadron colors under your uniform. Sean is a Rescue Swimmer and if you’d like an HSL-51 Search and Rescue Shirt, let us know, we can bring one to the game for you on Sunday. We just need a size.

    You guys have certainly provided an opportunity of a life-time and we can’t thank you enough.

    Sean, Jill and Mason Hughes

    HEY! I don’t know if it was your son or not, but one of the men in their outfit took his shoulder emblem off and gave it to me! It is a picture of a dove over a silver anchor, wings and something else. What does SAR stand for? Please pass along my sincere thanks to your son and the people in his outfit!

  4. wohaire permalink
    March 21, 2008 5:01 am

    A UNIQUE GESTURE OF LOVE!
    One of the nicest things can say about someone is that they are…UNIQUE! Let me give you an example of…UNIQUE!

    A woman whose son was killed in Iraq shortly after last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade decided to fly his platoon up to Boston for this year’s parade. She not only paid for all of their flights, she put them up in hotels and fed them very well as well. That my friends is…VERY UNIQUE!

    It was May 2007 when Maureen O’Haire’s son died while on patrol. Here we are less than a year later and there’s Maureen standing at O Street and Broadway along with family & friends cheering his platoon on. What A Tribute!

    But then, Maureen O’Haire is indeed a very “UNIQUE” woman. She gave an extra push to the Marine slogan “Semper Fi” (Always Faithful). At the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, host Senator Jack Hart introduced Maureen and her son Walter’s Marine platoon to the assembled guests. The result was a five minute standing ovation. It was a very nice gesture of praise and support.

    It was also a rousing echo of support when people all around the world were able to tune in and view the parade. It was a rousing echo of support to see how America did and always should honor our brave and dedicated military men and women.

    That, in part, is the difference between being here and not being over there. You can be for or against something but you can’t be against the men and women who serve their nation proudly. Because it is over there and not over here some people tend to take the great sacrifice men and women who serve for granted.

    People talk and when they do I make it a point to listen. I heard lots of talk about Maureen O’Haire this past week. Two guys sitting in a coffee shop were talking about Maureen O’Haire bringing 22 men who were in her son’s platoon to Boston. They both agreed that this was a very nice thing for her to do. They then went on to talk about their own military experience and how great it was to have someone respect and acknowledge that service.

    What Maureen did was to get people thinking and talking.

    On Saturday evening in St. Vincent’s Church in South Boston Maureen and Walter’s platoon showed up for a memorial mass. It was a mass of remembrance and a time to reflect on the sacrifice young men and women make to service in America’s military. One thing is for certain, these 22 men returned to their current base in North Carolina with a rousing round of support. Even in church they were given a standing ovation.

    This warm and wonderful gesture of love from Maureen to her son Walter’s Marine platoon is indeed very…UNIQUE!

    A mother loses her son and she responds by bringing his platoon buddies to South Boston to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. She said that she was inspired by the fact that her son Walter had driven up from North Carolina to stand at the corner of O street and Broadway to watch last year’s parade. Walter got a weekend pass and hopped into a car and drove all night so he could watch the parade. After the parade he drove all the way back to North Carolina. It was his last trip home.

    Less that two months later on May 9, 2007 Walter O’Haire died a Marine in Iraq. His nickname was “Gator” and he was six days shy of his 21st birthday. Little did he think on that March Sunday in 2007 that he was going to his last St. Patrick’s Day parade.

    Then there’s Maureen thinking and wondering what could I do that would have my son share that St. Patrick’s Day experience with his Marine buddies? I’ve got it! I’ll just contact the Marines and get permission to fly his entire platoon to Southie for the parade. After all, this past November, Gator’s platoon invited Maureen and family to spend Veterans’ Day at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. To Maureen, it made perfect sense to return the hospitality.

    Of course there’s a bit more to getting 22 Marines here than just having an idea. There was lot of planning and logistics that had to be overcome. Besides, who is going to pay for all of this? To which Maureen replied, “I will. They will be Gator’s guests.” REALLY!

    So let me get this straight. You want the Marines to allow 22 of their men to come to Boston to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and you are going to pay for all of their expenses? In effect Maureen told the Marine military hierarchy that she would be totally responsible for everything all weekend long. As the nursery rhyme goes, “…and every where that Maureen went the Marines were sure to go.”

    Not only does Maureen have a flock of her own children she has taken in and mothered more than 50 foster children. For Maureen, having 22 soldiers come to Boston was just another day at the office.

    Maureen’s was in effect being her son for the weekend. She did what her son would have done. She got those Marines a weekend pass and off to the parade they went.

    Every once in a while someone does something that gets people to pause and think. Nice gestures by nice people. People doing things for other people that you never quite expected they would do. Unfortunately, there is such a media rush to feature and to accentuate the negative. This was a proud story they could not ignore. It was a genuine gesture that came from the heart.

    How deep do you have to go into the newspaper to find a “Feel Good” story? How far do you have to go into television news to see something positive being reported? What Maureen O’Haire did was much more than bring a group of Marines to Boston to march in a parade. She held out her arms and welcomed them to Gator’s world. She went beyond the uniform and let them share a part of her son’s life. It was a positive reflection of all those who so bravely serve. She put the focus on all the military for their service and sacrifice.

    Thank you Maureen for your very… UNIQUE GESTURE OF LOVE!

  5. goawaycurt permalink
    March 21, 2008 7:50 am

    Now Curt, I think you have earned your KEEP!
    I may bash a little, but mostly in good nature.
    I have many friends in the military and they all believe
    they are doing the right thing. Any visit from Celebrities / Sports personalities carry’s these young men and women farther than you can imagine! As you always say “it’s your honor to meet them” Well FYI from experience, The visits like yours and many others of stature get our troops from even the darkest of NIGHTS!!!

    Thank-you
    and THANK-YOU TROOPS!!

  6. priscillapitman08 permalink
    March 21, 2008 8:09 am

    That was a wonderful thing you and the players did for the troops. I think that would be so great to thank them for everything they do for us. I know a lot of people serving overseas and it truly is a wonderful thing they do everyday for us, and to be able to thank them in such a great way. Thank you.

    Sorry I am not too eloquent today, I’m recovering from surgery two days ago, and just thinking through the pain is hard.

  7. eng2lt permalink
    March 21, 2008 8:51 am

    Curt,

    If I’m not mistaken “SAR” stands for Search and Rescue. How would someone get a shirt to you – I’ll send you an W.F.D. Engine 2 t-shirt (and what size?). Good luck in Japan. It’s great what you guys do for the troops – god bless them!

  8. March 21, 2008 9:09 am

    As a Marine Corps daughter – growing up on bases… outside of bases and on a government salary… these appearances mean so much to these guys, women & families. Thanks for keeping the TRUE heros in our lives apart of the Great American Past Time!
    ~Elizabeth

  9. pouncy permalink
    March 21, 2008 9:36 am

    SAR is Search and Rescue.

    Any visits planned for Yokosuka?

  10. davidrainone permalink
    March 21, 2008 10:39 am

    Curt, As a teacher and coach at the high school level here in Mass. I cant tell you how much I admire you and appreciate yrou candid comments, honesty and pureness. I think you are to be admired by all young athletes and students. Whether I agree with you or not I always know yo have no agenda but being honest and express what you feel. As far as I am concerned, you are a helluva role model for today’s youth. Your charity work alone is worthy of so much praise.

    As a teacher or inner city, violent, youths where not knowing if yo uare going to get shot during the day you are to be commended for living a good life with all the temptions you must encounter.

    Cudos to you and I wish you the best in your recovery with your arm problems. AS you know, you are MCUH more than an arm.

    BTW: Never though Jerry Remy woudl en dup in the majors when we played together as kids….was he THAT better than me? haha YUP, he was THAT good at 9!

  11. March 21, 2008 12:15 pm

    Hooah.

  12. tom34 permalink
    March 21, 2008 4:02 pm

    I am a HUGE red sox fan and have been since I was old enough to know who to root for. I am also a Soldier in the NY Army national guard I think the things the layers have done for the troops in the passed few months is awesome a lot of times the soldiers sailors marines and airmen who serve our great country get, well not forgotten I believe that is the wrong term, but maybe placed in the back of our thoughts. For those of us who do serve it is a great responsibilty that we take on with all of our hearts I am currently waiting to hear if I am going back for my third trip to the middle east. It is an intense time for me there is a lot going on in my family. Thank you for serving those that serve the country. Feel free to write to me I check my e mail every day waiting for the decision whether I am going away for 18 months after the birth of my 5th child. My e mail address is thomas.e.ellis1@us.army.mil.

  13. opp68 permalink
    March 21, 2008 5:42 pm

    Small point — It’s Camp Zama, not Zuma.

    Thanks Curt, for your CONSISTENT support of our servicemen & women. I live near Ramstein AFB & Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. I’ve lost count of the number of politicians and celebs who drop in for a quick photo opp and rapidly bail out with hardly a word to say to the wounded troops. One unnamed Senator from New York currently running for President comes to mind.

    The folks who actually drop in, unnoticed, and do things behind the scenes for the guys without looking for pub are the ones who should be praised. Gary Sinise and Robin Williams are the two that come to mind.

  14. sardawg06 permalink
    March 21, 2008 5:58 pm

    Curt,

    Sorry. the way response was written was a little confusing. I am Sean Hughes, my little guy was in the Matsuzaka shirt. It was Ryan Kuiper who gave you the patch off of his uniform. It is the Navy Search and Rescue Emblem. The motto is “So Others May Live”. I will pass on your thanks to him. We will be at the exhibition against the Giants tomorrow, if you would like one of our shop PT shirts let me know a size and we could bring one with us.

    Thanks again for what you guys are doing over here and everyone in the Red Sox Nation.

    Sean

  15. lovethesocks permalink
    March 21, 2008 6:23 pm

    Thank you for boosting the moral of our troops.

  16. skinnyman2007 permalink
    March 21, 2008 9:18 pm

    Hi Curt How was the ride in the BlackHawk Chopper. It looked liked liked you enjoyed your self and also Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin had a fun time also. Curt Does Mike Timlin have a copy of the video he taped while he was in the BlackHawk Chopper. I woud like a copy of that if he could do that. How would I get a copy? Curt I want to thank Mike Timlin, Kyle Snyder, Terry Francona, Coco Crisp, and Jason Varitek for signing autographs for me this year at spring training. All those players are really cool and could you pass that on to them and say thank you for me. Jason Varitek is a classy person. Also I want to thank Hideki Okajima for signing a autograph for me also. The RedSox are a cool team Curt and your Blog I really great!!!!!!!!. Curt I would like to get you a shirt from Parris Island For you. What size do you wear and How would I send it to you. I am glad you support our troops!!!!!!!!. Email me at riley101hot2000@yahoo.com and let me know where to send the shirt to you. I hope your sholder is feeling better. May God Bless you and enjoy your time in Japan and when you travel back to the United States have a safe trip to you and the rest of the team.

    Jeff

  17. March 22, 2008 12:52 am

    My friend and I were looking at the pictures that the online news services posted of the appearance; her only comment was “I’ll never understand Tokyo street fashion.” She says that it’s typical (although she doesn’t understand it…we’re too old, I think.)

    What does Tokyo look like from above?

  18. March 22, 2008 7:44 am

    It was so very cool to watch you guys on television last night with the servicemen. You were beaming from ear to ear, I think you enjoyed it more than they did!

    Truthfully though, I’m not sure how the other services work that area but the Air Force has alot of people do “remotes” to Japan, which means they’re not allowed to bring their families with them — and so to have had a taste of home with you guys there probably meant more than you could ever imagine.
    :)

  19. March 24, 2008 3:17 pm

    Hey, Curt:

    So the pilot was a Yankee fan?

    Well, can’t win ‘em all, I guess. Heh.

    Glad you had a good time. Can’t wait for Opening Day tomorrow morning!!!

  20. uclamatt7 permalink
    March 25, 2008 12:50 pm

    Mr. Schilling,

    I grew up on Camp Zama as an Army brat, and actually played 4 years of ball for the Zama Trojans (and it just so happens that my girlfriend’s dad is the commanding general you met while you were there). When I heard that you, Wake, Timlin, and Corey were all headed to Zama, of course my first reaction was, “Damn, I graduated high school five years too early.” However, even though I wasn’t there, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to go over to the base to meet the folks and sign autographs. I grew up on Zama watching baseball games on the Armed Forces Network, trying to catch some innings during lunch and before I went to school in the morning. And just like me when I was younger, the Army kids growing up overseas don’t have the same opportunities to go to the ball field and try to meet players before the games like kids do in the states. I hope you know that you and the other fellas from the team taking the time from your busy schedules to go over to Camp Zama meant a lot to the people on that base. I know that there were probably other places in Tokyo you could’ve gone and seen instead, so it means all that much more. Thank you again, Mr. Schilling, and if you happen to read this response, please pass my appreciation to Wake, Timlin, and Corey as well.

    Matt

  21. reiney permalink
    March 25, 2008 3:08 pm

    Too bad you did not have time to spend at Zama. Knowing you are a military history buff they should have given you a quick tour. The Camp was once the home to the imperial Military Academy and still has a bunker or two from WWII you could have toured. It was later the Headquarters of the occupation Army under MacArthur. Thanks for doing the tour. I left there a couple of years ago and it always stoked the guys when they had a chance to get a bit of home. Enjoy the flight back to the states.

  22. lavalley01 permalink
    March 28, 2008 10:14 am

    Curt, as an employee of Sikorsky Aircraft I am excited to hear you got a chance to fly in a Blackhawk!!! How was that? That must have been AWESOME!!! I have been here for 3 years and I have not been able to finagle my way up onto one yet, LOL (doubt I ever will considering they are Govt. property, LOL). Anyway keep up the good work.

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