Twelve-year-old Nathan Aldaco was diagnosed with rare heart disease at a young age, but that hasn’t slowed him down. Last year, Nathan and his family were contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which asked Nathan to give a list of things he would like to do.
Nathan Aldaco, a 12 year-old boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, walks with Marines to a demolition site during a Make-A-Wish event supported by 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, at Camp Pendleton, California.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Laura Gauna
On March 24, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Nathan had the chance to do just that when Marines with 7th Engineer Support Battalion welcomed Nathan as an honorary devil dog.
Rocking a tailor-made combat uniform, flak, and kevlar, Nathan road in a MRAP vehicle, drove a bulldozer, watched explosive ordnance disposal Marines detonate TNT, C4, dynamite and blasting caps, and had a chance to control a bomb-disposal robot.
At the end of the day, Nathan was awarded the Master EOD badge, a distinguished award in the EOD community typically issued after 7 to 15 years of service.
Nathan Aldaco, a 12 year-old boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, stands at attention as Col. Jaime O. Collazo pins on the Master EOD badge during a Make-A-Wish event supported by 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, aboard Camp Pendleton, CaliforniaU.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Laura Gauna
“It was a great opportunity,” said 1st Lt. Ernesto Gaudio, a platoon commander with Bravo Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion. “First of all it was good for Nathan. I hope it was also good for the Marines. I think it touched a lot our hearts. I will certainly never forget today or Nathan and his family. I got emotional at the end but, hey, we are human beings. We are Marines but we are human.”
Nathan has undergone numerous surgeries for his condition, a rare congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, that left his heart severely underdeveloped.
When asked what his favorite part of the day Nathan said, “The bombs were cool. I like working with the robots. It was fun controlling them and picking stuff up with them.”
New York City has seen dark times, but in the spring and early summer of 1776 the outlook was especially grim. The Revolutionary War was in its early, chaotic days, the British fleet sailed en masse toward the city, and in a desperate defensive measure, General George Washington ordered thousands of his Continental troops into lower Manhattan. Almost a third of the city's citizens fled, and Washington's filthy, untrained and undisciplined soldiers quartered themselves in the elegant houses left behind. They were hungry, cold and scared, and they numbed their fear with drink, gambling and prostitutes. They were about to face the greatest military force in the world, outgunned and outmanned, fighting for a country that hadn't been created yet.
In hindsight, America's victory against the British seems like one of history's inevitabilities, but in the beginning it was anything but. And had a small group of pro-British conspirators had their way, the Glorious Cause might have lost its essential leader — George Washington — to imprisonment, execution or assassination.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are disagreeing with President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Lindsey Graham essentially laid the deaths of the unknown number of U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday at the feet of President Donald Trump during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg News reports.
Soldiers, family and community gathered in Morehead City to render honors and witness the transfer and memorial of U.S. Army Sgt James Slape Nov. 9-11, 2018. Slape will hold a temporary resting place in Morehead City before ultimately moving to Arlington Cemetery. Slape supported Operations Resolute Support and Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard)
An ISIS suicide bomber killed and wounded an unknown number of American soldiers in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday.