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To the good and kind people of Okinawa

Date Posted: 2001-05-25

My name is Frank Escobeo Sr. I would like to present my son, Rocky Escobedo's story to all the readers of Japan Update.

Rocky is a Cpl in the USMC, stationed in Camp Pendleton Ca. He was on board a ship headed to the Persian Gulf. While in port, in Thailand, my son suffered a vehicle accident while on an unsupervised 72-hour liberty. He was picked up by a volunteer agency, and then rushed to a civilian hospital. The ship he was on left him behind leaving only two military representatives to oversee him.

He suffered severe head injuries and had to have brain surgery, in order to save his life. Upon receiving word of my sonís condition, my family and I rushed to our son's bedside, as he was on the brink of passing on. From the very beginning the Marine Corps tried to persuade us from going to our son's side. Our passports were literally made possible by an act of our local Congressman in California.

The Marine Corps started this whole situation of trying to deny us access to our son. My wife and I borrowed as much money as we could, and rushed to my son's bedside, disregarding the Marine Corpsí explanation that the situation was under control. Upon arriving at Thailand we found our son with a large portion of his skull removed and in critical condition, while restrained to a bed.

During our seven-day stay in Thailand we were awaiting the Air Force to medivac our son to the Naval Hospital, in Okinawa. I had to push and argue constantly with the Marine rep to assist and work out the logistical issues with his Lt. Colonel, who was on board the ship steaming to the Gulf. The stress of dealing with my sons condition, and being in a country totally foreign to us was difficult enough. I still had to deal with the Marine rep and navy corpsman, which just created stress levels no parent of any sick child should have to endure. The Marine Corps was denying us to board the medivac to Okinawa. The Air Force got involved and made it possible.

Now that we have been in the Naval Hospital in Okinawa, the politics have increased hundred-fold, with the exception of a wonderful doctor and a terrific ICU nursing staff. I've asked for more money for my daughter in law that was finally given but through grinding teeth. I might add it only came about after a week of arguing with the Marine liaison, social worker and hospital administrator.

I have gone all the way to the General of the III FFSG, who appeared to understand. After having a meeting with a Colonel from the III FFSG, he agreed to help with airfare and arrange lodging in a hotel supposedly owned by the military. But when the colonel attempted to address me he tried to treat me like a low ranking marine. He implied the assistance was for expenses, not expensive meals or nightspots, which I deeply resented. At this point, the Colonel has denied the family any help, plus is warning that my wife, daughter and me are on our own here in Japan. My days and nights are consumed of feeding and bathing my son, and assisting hospital staff with my son's recovery. This Colonel seems to think he can talk to people like he owns them, which I truly resent as an American citizen and a parent of a Marine who is recovering from very serious injuries, sustained while attempting to serve his country to the best of his ability. The Marine Corps has even tried to keep us from decisions involving my son's medical condition.

Because my son is not scheduled to be medivaced to the USA until in two more weeks, and the fact that I am running out of funds, I would appreciate any love gifts to help me and my family stay in Okinawa until my son leaves the island.

As for parents of Marines who do not have money or clout with the Marine Corps leadership, pray to God your child doesn't get seriously injured while in the Marine Corps, because you will experience a scene right out of a horror movie.

Thank you from the parents of
Rocky Escobedo
Anyone wishing to help can contact me at the Naval Hospital at Camp Lester.

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