Showing posts with label Pensacola Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pensacola Florida. Show all posts

Friday, May 8, 2020

Navy Vet got tired of waiting for prescription at Pensacola VA...went back with AR-15

FBI: Veteran tried to enter Pensacola VA Clinic armed with AR-15-style rifle, handgun

Pensacola News Journal
Colin Warren-Hicks
May 7, 2020
He returned to the clinic two hours later, carrying an AR-15-style rifle that was loaded with 20 rounds of ammunition, with one round in the chamber. The safety was turned off and "ready to fire," the affidavit stated.
After allegedly making threatening comments to a witness in the parking lot, a U.S. Navy veteran approached the Pensacola VA armed with AR-15 style rifle. (Photo: Gregg Pachkowski/
A U.S. Navy veteran is facing federal charges after he entered the Pensacola Veterans Affairs Clinic on Wednesday armed with an AR-15-style rifle, 34 rounds of ammunition and a handgun because he was upset COVID-19 policy changes were causing his prescriptions to be filled too slowly.

Howell E. Camp, 58, was stopped by police before he entered the building and was taken into custody.
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Friday, December 6, 2019

Four dead in Fla. Navy base shooting

Four dead in Fla. Navy base shooting; gunman was Saudi air force officer, officials say

Published: December 6, 2019
“You just don’t expect this to happen at home…But it did and it has,” Sheriff David Morgan said.
Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella briefs members of the media following a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. A U.S official told The Associated Press that the suspect was a Saudi aviation student, and that authorities are investigating whether the shooting was terrorism-related.

WASHINGTON — A member of the Saudi Arabian air force opened fire Friday morning in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., killing three and injuring several others, according to local and law enforcement officials.

The aviation student, who was fatally shot by an Escambia County sheriff's deputy, was a second lieutenant in the Saudi air force, two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press. The officials said authorities were investigating whether the attack was terrorism-related.

Seven other people were injured in the shooting, including two sheriff deputies, Chief Deputy Chip Simmons of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other in the knee, and both are expected to survive, he said.

The shooter used a handgun and all of the shooting took place in one classroom, authorities said. Capt. Timothy Kinsella, the commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, noted weapons are not allowed on the base.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Every name from Florida on Vietnam Memorial Wall, has a face to go with it

Researchers find photographs of every Floridian whose name is listed on Vietnam Memorial Wall
Pensacola News Journal
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
Sept. 4, 2018
The final photograph posted by the group was of Army Pfc. Thomas J. Burton of Pompano Beach who died on Nov. 20, 1968, in Binh Duong Province at age 21.

After months of intensive work, researchers have found photographs of all 1,957 Floridians killed during the Vietnam War.

The statewide effort, spearheaded by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter in The Villages, is part of a national project to create a virtual Wall of Faces. Florida is the 34th state to find photographs for each person who listed the state as home.

The photographs will eventually be included in an education center, which will be built adjacent to the wall in Washington D.C.

John Thomstatter, a Vietnam veteran from The Villages, coordinated the search effort for the photographs. Thomstatter credited his volunteer research team for tracking down the many hard-to-find photos. The volunteers included private investigators, genealogists and people who knocked on doors and scoured libraries and archives around Florida.
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

500 Homeless Veterans Found Home and Hope in Pensacola

500 homeless vets housed through VA, Pensacola program
Pensacola News Journal
Kevin Robinson
June 25, 2017
"If it wasn't for the psychiatrist and the case workers and HUD-VASH, I probably would have fell backwards. They're all proud of me because of where I'm at now compared to how I used to be."
Billy Gillard
Billy Gillard's welcome to Vietnam was a hail of enemy gunfire.

The 18-year-old U.S. Marine Corps infantryman was deployed to Vietnam in 1968, the bloodiest year of the war. When his plane landed, Gillard's first instructions were to grab his duffel bag and sprint for cover. From there, Gillard spent restless nights unsure where or when the next attack would come. He lost brothers in arms suddenly and violently, and still can't shake the memories of the dead and wounded.

He made it home physically whole, but he left some piece of himself in the jungle.

"Now, I have a psychiatrist, and they recognize it's (post traumatic stress disorder)," Gillard, now 68, said. "Back then it was like, 'What do I do now?' ... . There were a lot of battles I was fighting by myself when I got back here."

Gillard turned to drugs to cope. He went through three marriages, more than a decade in prison and 15 years drifting from place to place without a home to call his own. In 2008, he realized he was tired of the way he was living, and this time, there was someone there to help.

Gillard is one of the hundreds of local, formerly homeless veterans who have been able to obtain housing through the HUD-VASH program.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Heroes Among Us, Pensacola Vietnam Veteran

Pensacola Vietnam veteran featured at Heroes Among Us event
Pensacola News Journal
Melissa Nelson Gabriel
August 23, 2016

"At the time, I didn't think about how dangerous it was. In retrospect, I feel fortunate to have come out alive," said McArthur, who credits his wife of 49 years for helping him deal with the trauma of war.
In 1998, members of The Last Patrol are reflected in the stone panels
of The Wall South as they pay tribute to their fallen comrades from the
war in Vietnam during Memorial Day observances organized by The Vietnam
Veterans Motorcycle Club of America.
(Photo: Pensacola Historical Society)
Decorated Vietnam veteran Gary McArthur doesn't come from a military family and never dreamed of joining the military as a child.

But the draft made military service a reality for McArthur, 71, and thousands of other young American men in the late 1960s.

"Back then, you were drafted as soon as your student deferment ended," said McArthur, a University of Florida graduate who joined the Army in 1968, and served as an officer in the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

The Pensacola native will share stories of his time as a "civilian soldier" during Thursday night's Heroes Among Us speaker series in downtown Pensacola.

The monthly outdoor speakers series in Pensacola's Veterans Memorial Park is sponsored by the Marine Corps League and draws on the war stories of the area's many veterans to raise money for projects that help veterans.

McArthur, a Pensacola native who served in the Army from 1968 to 1971, said he has a unique perspective because he was not a career military officer.
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Friday, March 4, 2016

Navy Veterans Want Navy to Fight For Them After Agent Orange Struck

Sick Navy vets hunt for decades-old records to prove they should get Agent Orange benefits 
The Virginian-Pilot
By Mike Hixenbaugh
Charles Ornstein
Terry Parris Jr.
1 hr ago

“It's hell,” said Ed Marciniak, of Pensacola, Fla., who served aboard the Norfolk-based USS Jamestown during the war. “The Navy should be going to the VA and telling them, ‘This is how people got aboard the ship, this is where they got off, this is how they operated.’ Instead, they put that burden on old, sick, dying veterans, or worse – their widows.”
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of U.S. Navy ships crossed into Vietnam's rivers or sent crew members ashore, possibly exposing their sailors to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. But more than 40 years after the war’s end, the U.S. government doesn't have a full accounting of which ships traveled where, adding hurdles and delays for sick Navy veterans seeking compensation.

The Navy could find out where each of its ships operated during the war, but it hasn’t. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs says it won’t either, instead choosing to research ship locations on a case-by-case basis, an extra step that veterans say can add months – even years – to an already cumbersome claims process. Bills that would have forced the Navy to create a comprehensive list have failed in Congress.

Some 2.6 million Vietnam veterans are thought to have been exposed to – and possibly harmed by – Agent Orange, which the U.S. military used to defoliate dense forests, making it easier to spot enemy troops. But vets are only eligible for VA compensation if they went on land – earning a status called “boots on the ground” – or if their ships entered Vietnam’s rivers, however briefly.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2 US troops killed by gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms

A Pensacola staff sergeant was one of two U.S airmen killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon announced Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, of Pensacola, Florida and Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, of Lexington, Kentucky died after the vehicle they were traveling in was attacked near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan.

2 US troops killed by gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms
Stars and Stripes
By Carlo Munoz and Zubair Babakarkhail
Published: August 26, 2015

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two U.S. servicemembers were shot and killed by two gunmen wearing Afghan security forces uniforms who opened fire on their vehicle in southern Afghanistan early Wednesday, U.S. and coalition officials said.

The attack occurred on an Afghan military compound in Helmand province. It coincided with reports that Taliban insurgents had overrun the center of Musa Qala, a strategically important district center in Helmand.

“Resolute Support servicemembers returned fire and killed the shooters,” a coalition statement said.

“We are deeply saddened by the reports out of Afghanistan overnight,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman. “Two U.S. servicemembers operating in support of the Resolute Support Mission were killed yesterday when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Force uniforms opened fire on their vehicle.”

DOD is withholding their identifications 24 hours, as families are notified. Their service branches were not identified.
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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Florida Prisoner Issues Down, Doing Good For Veterans Up

Florida prisoners train therapy dogs to help veterans 
Washington Times
By - Associated Press
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Blackwater officials say disciplinary issues are down 90 percent in the housing area where the dogs and trainers live.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - A group of Florida prisoners are training therapy dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as part of a new program.

Prisoners from the Blackwater River Correctional Facility will train three puppies for America’s Vet Dogs Veteran’s K-9 Corps with plans to expand to 10 dogs by the end of the year. The training program will teach the K-9s to do everything from retrieving medication, to turning lights on and off, to waking veterans from nightmares.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marine From Massachusetts Died In Florida

Weymouth mourns US Marine’s unexpected death
Boston Globe
By Rosa Nguyen
JUNE 29, 2015

A US Marine from Weymouth who was about to graduate at the top of his class died June 20 at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

The death of 19-year-old Private First Class Peter J. Handibode was not related to training, said First Lieutenant Matthew Rojo, a Marine Corps spokesman. 

An investigation into the specific circumstances of his death is ongoing, and no additional information is available at this time, Rojo added.

“It’s a tragedy whenever we lose a young service member,” said George Pontes, director of veterans services in Weymouth.
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Black Hawk Loss Hard on Navarre Community

Black Hawk helicopter crash rocks Florida community built on military, faith
By Carol McPhail
March 11, 2015

In the Navarre community, where the military and faith reign supreme, residents gathered at candlelight ceremonies Wednesday night to pray and pay homage to the 11 personnel missing and presumed dead in a Black Hawk helicopter crash Tuesday.

The missing soldiers and Marines were from Louisiana and North Carolina, but that mattered little to residents of the unincorporated community in Santa Rosa County, a short drive from three military installations: Pensacola Naval Air Station, Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base.

"There are children missing their fathers, wives missing their husbands," said Rev. Jon Skipper, pastor of Navarre First Assembly of God, during a candlelight service Wednesday night. "Although we don't know them, they're part of one family."

"These men were patriots of the highest order," said Skipper.

Outside the church on U.S. 98 near the beach, a flag stood at half-staff. Inside worshippers stood at attention as a Hurlburt color guard did the honors. They prayed, raised their hands and lit candles from a row of 12 laid out on the communion table. Eleven of the candles represented the four U.S. Army National Guard soldiers and the seven Marine Corps members missing. The 12th was for "the 12th man" - who is Jesus, said Skipper.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gulf Coast VA Town Hall Hears From Veterans

Veterans came armed and ready to tackle VA problems
Pensacola News Journal
Marketta A. Davis
Staff Writer
September 9, 2014

They may be veterans, but they're definitely still fighting a war.

The Joint Ambulatory Care Center on U.S. 98 was ground zero for the Gulf Coast VA town hall event Monday night, housing more than 70 Gulf Coast area vets who brought their notes, questions and concerns with the VA.

While many veterans voiced a genuine thanks and appreciation for the work the Pensacola VA clinic provides to the community, others had quite a difference in opinion.

Paul Goodwin, a 79-year-old Navy vet, said the problem for him wasn't in the services or treatment the VA provides, rather it was in its growing population.

"I have no complaints for the VA here or at Tyndall Air Force Base, where I've been seen," said Goodwin.

"I just think the VA is growing too fast."

With the recent scandals over delayed care, many veterans at the town hall felt like the VA could use an extra hand in doctors, facilities and claims services members to compensate for the growing numbers of veterans in Pensacola.
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Florida Afghanistan vet struggles to get his life back from PTSD

Afghanistan vet struggles to get his life back
An Afghanistan veteran overcomes disillusionment and anger to reclaim his life back home
Pensacola News Journal
Written by
Rob Johnson
Dec. 21, 2013

Colin Savoie joined the Army in 2008 as a young American idealist. But like so many who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq, he survived physical wounds only to find his biggest battle loomed back home: to save his tortured soul.

The 23-year-old Milton resident enlisted in search of a cause, an honorable mission in the tradition of the storyline in “Saving Private Ryan.” The 1998 epic focuses on a fictional World War II Army squad assigned to rescue a soldier whose three brothers had been killed in combat.

Watching the movie on television at age 10, Savoie recalled, “I remember seeing Tom Hanks and thinking how he didn’t care about himself and how he wanted to save that kid. I wanted to be that person, to have that feeling: It’s not about me. It’s about everyone else.”

Honorably discharged in August 2012, the Purple Heart recipient represents an all-too-common statistic as one of about 500,000 combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

That’s about twice the number of troops in the legendary Third Army commanded by one of World War II’s most famous generals, George Patton, who was quoted as saying he wouldn’t allow what was then known as “battle fatigue” to excuse a soldier from combat.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Patriot Guard Riders escorting Staff Sgt. Jesse Thomas Jr. body home

The Patriot Guard has been requested to escort and stand in honor for SSgt Jesse L. Thomas Jr.

SSgt Jesse L. Thomas Jr. age 31
Pensacola, Fl.
June 20 and 22, 2013
This will be a two part mission. SSgt Thomas was KIA on June 10, 2013 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. We will receive SSgt Thomas's remains upon arrival from Dover, DE at the Pensacola Aviation Center, 4145 Jerry L. Maygarden Rd., Pensacola. Aircraft arrival is scheduled for 11:00 AM, June 20, 2013. We will then escort SSgt Thomas to the Joe Morris Funeral Home, 701 N. DeVillers St., Pensacola.

The second part of this mission will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Funeral services are scheduled at the East Hill Church of God in Christ, 400 East Jordan St. Pensacola at 1:00 PM. We will set a flag line up prior to the service. Following the service, we will escort SSgt Thomas to Barrancas National Cemetery for honors. Honors at Barrancas National Cemetery are scheduled for 3:15 PM. Joe Morris Funeral Home, 701 N. DeVillers St., Pensacola is in charge of arrangements.

SSgt Thomas was assigned to the 39th Transportation Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command out of Kleber Kaserne, Germany.

He leaves behind his wife, Michelle, also an active duty member, 3 step children, and his Mother, Irma Oliver. SSgt Thomas earned the following awards during his service to this country. The Army Commendation Medal (3) {3rd posthumous}, Army Achievement Medal (3), Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal (2), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), and posthumous NATO Medal.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Faked Mil Service Attempt to Cheat Mortgage

Feds: Faked Mil Service Attempt to Cheat Mortgage
May 20, 2013
Orlando Sentinel

No lie was too big to tell for an Orlando woman who wanted a new home in Pensacola, but didn't want to pay the mortgage for her Orlando home, federal officials said.

Chantal M. Lanton, 37, of Orlando is accused of falsely claiming to be an officer in the United States Air Force who was being deployed to Germany when she let her home loan go into default in February 2011.

She did so in an attempt to receive foreclosure-protection benefits that are available for service members, federal officials said.

Lanton never served in the Air Force or any other branch of the U.S. military, officials said.
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Marine Sea Knight pilot risked all to stop carnage

40 years after sniper Mark Essex, Marine pilot is proud he helped stop the carnage
By Ramon Antonio Vargas
The Times-Picayune
January 05, 2013

Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Charles H. "Chuck" Pitman, the branch's former Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation, was at Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola, Fla., on January 2, 2013. Forty years ago, on Jan. 7, 1973, Pitman volunteered to pilot a Sea Knight helicopter and helped police stop Mark Essex, the Howard Johnson's sniper in New Orleans, risking his life and his career.
(Photo by Michael Spooneybarger, | The Times-Picayune contributor)
Like most other residents of New Orleans, Marine helicopter pilot Charles H. "Chuck" Pitman watched the television in horror on Jan. 7, 1973, as authorities tried to stop a sniper or snipers who had invaded the Downtown Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge that morning and fatally shot seven people, including three police officers. Shots rang out from various spots in the 17-story hotel, making police think there was more than one gunman, but the cops eventually contained the killer or killers to the roof.

Though cornered, whoever was on the hotel roof was out of the NOPD's reach. Disturbed, Pitman -- at the time a 37-year-old lieutenant colonel in charge of a Marine air unit stationed in Belle Chasse -- thought, "We've got to do something. Those people need help out there."

So Pitman did do something. He flew a Marine helicopter to the hotel on Loyola Avenue and helped police officers, some of them on board the chopper, kill 23-year-old Mark Essex, who investigators determined was the sole sniper. In doing so, however, Pitman placed his career with the Marines in jeopardy.

Four decades later, many New Orleanians are still thankful for Pitman's actions on the day Essex terrorized the city. "Without that helicopter and without his piloting, it would've been a lot worse," Moon Landrieu, New Orleans' mayor at the time, said recently. "The city owes him a debt of gratitude."
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Airman dies during training at Pensacola Naval Air Station

Airman dies during training at Pensacola Naval Air Station
Orlando Sentinel
October 17, 2012

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force says an airman died during survival training at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

The Air Force confirmed Wednesday that Maj. Garrett Knowlan died last week during a four-day, water-survival course.
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Marine carries boy across finish line after prosthetic leg breaks

Marine carries boy, bone cancer survivor, across finish line at Florida triathlon
Ben Baltz, 11, a bone cancer survivor, was running in a Florida children’s triathlon when he noticed something was wrong with his prosthetic leg. Unable to fix it, he was helped across the finish line by a Marine who wanted to make sure the boy finished the race.

With an all-Marine escort, 11-year-old Ben Baltz is carried across the finish line on the back of Pfc. Matthew Morgan, 19, of San Diego.

An 11-year-old boy whose prosthetic leg fell off during a Florida children’s triathlon was carried across the finish line by a heroic Marine.

Ben Baltz, a bone cancer survivor, noticed something was wrong with his prosthetic leg during the final run portion of the race in Pensacola.

So Morgan put Ben on his back and completed the last half mile of the run, surrounded by other Marines.

As the pair crossed the finish line, a touched crowd applauded wildly.

Ben, whose leg was amputated when he was 6-years-old, was competing in his third triathlon of the summer.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

2,000 Marines make Pensacola streets echo "Oorah!" for charity

Marines make Pensacola streets echo "Oorah!" for charity
Sep 15, 2012
Written by
Rob Johnson

The Marine Corps, 2,000 strong, ran and cheered through downtown streets, accompanied by more than 1,000 civilians, in a traditional charity fundraising event.
The Marine Corps., about 2,000 strong, stormed through downtown Pensacola Saturday morning on a spirited but peaceful mission that helped raise about $25,000 for several charities.

Also participating in the 29th annual Semper Fi Charity Run were nearly 1,100 civilians, ranging from serious runners to casual walkers, some of whom pushed baby carriages.

Marine Col. Robert Sherrill, senior officer at the event, said, “It’s a small token of thanks back to the city, which is so warm to the military personnel stationed here. For us it’s a great bonding time.”

Funds were raised through individual registrations and sizable donations from several businesses, including $5,000 from McGuire’s Irish Pub, $5,000 from Pen Air Federal Credit Union and $1,000 from Navy Federal Credit Union, according to a event supervisor.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Iraq veteran says faith and support help PTSD

Military Suicides On The Rise
Published: June 10, 2012

These are some of the injuries retired army captain Stephen David Fleming deals with--eight years after an attack in Iraq.

“I've had five hip replacements since then, spinal fusions, I've had close to 30 surgeries,” says Fleming. In addition to the physical scars he's also had mental scars like bouts of depression.

“It's a daily battle, the VA helps out with medication but also my friends family and faith is what gets me going,” says Fleming.

Fleming says he's been able to battle through the physical and mental challenges of post war life thanks to a strong support network. He says he's known two fellow veterans who committed suicide and dealt with suicidal thoughts himself. He says he volunteers and reaches out to other vets for help and to help them.
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Military Suicides On The Rise
There have been more suicides by active duty military than casualties in Afghanistan for the first five months of the year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Patrick Wayland died after training, donated organs

UPDATE to this story

San Marcos Marine receives gift of life

In death, Marine trainee gives life to others

Written by
Travis Griggs
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Patrick Wayland suffered a cardiac arrest during training Aug. 1 at Pensacola Naval Air Station. / Special to the News Journal
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Patrick Wayland gave his country everything he had to give.

His service. His life. And, in the end, his organs.

Wayland, 24, of Midland, Texas, died at Sacred Heart Hospital over the weekend, after going into cardiac arrest during water survival training Aug. 1 at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

He was pronounced brain dead Friday and removed from life support about 7:30 p.m. Saturday after doctors determined which organs could be donated.

"As a Marine, Patrick swore to serve and give his life to duty, and by donating his organs, he is able to fulfill his obligation to others," Wayland's father, David Wayland, posted in an online journal on Friday.

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In death Marine trainee gives life to others