It comes more and more obvious that there are those who just don’t understand Marines. They don’t get what kind of men make up units that stormed beaches like Iwo Jima and Okinawa, walked out of the Chosin in Korea and fought house to house in Hue City and Fallujah. A brotherhood forged with blood and yes some tears. So, when it comes to looking after one another many of us are fiercely focused as the young Marines of the Irreverent Warriors are now with ensuring Sgt Hansen gets the recogntion he so rightfully deserves, but has been denied from his hometown.
All requests thus far have been met with the typical bureaucratic push back, but the Warriors stay focused and committed in their response. They are careful not to be disrespectful to the families of those on the wall by publicly expressing some concerns over the city process involving selection of those allowed to be honored; the decision as to who gets on the wall and who doesn’t seems to a confusing one.
First, they would like to address the name of the Wall, Veterans Memorial Wall…The fact is Veterans are actually excluded by the very criteria of having to die or be killed on active duty. If you are still on active duty at the time of your death you are not a Veteran. Point one in the confusion.
Second, who makes the decision as to who is eligible and who isn’t? There doesn’t seem to be any Veteran involvement. They are led to believe non Veterans are making that decision which might be the reason for the confusion of the naming of the wall and misunderstanding of who is a Veteran and who isn’t.
Third, the criteria states that you have to have a link to Jax by having it as your home of record or having gone to HS here, served in time of war and died or were killed on active duty. It seems the home of record criteria is given to some exceptions as has the served in time of war for some. Case in point, Johnny Oliver from 2013, he is from Kentucky and is buried there…Only connection to Jax was living here while stationed at Kings Bay. Why was he permitted to be put on the Wall? Dustin Curtiss is from New Hampshire went to HS there and enlisted the Marines there was killed there by a shooting and his only connection with Jax was he was stationed there. Why was he permitted to be on the Wall?
Neither of these two fall under the Home of Record or HS requirement for consideration…Home of Record isn’t where you live while on active duty…Home of Record is the location you enter the military.
And there is Kimberly Weller USMC killed in a plane crash in PR in 1962…Time of War? Vietnam wasn’t really recognized until 1965…Why was he allowed on the Wall?
The point to all this is why can’t Sgt Randall Hansen get the same consideration. He actually is from Jax and actually fought in combat, but after two combat tours, PTSD and a VA that failed him, he succumbed to suicide. What makes his PTSD situation different from Army Sgt Derek Smith from Jax and Stationed in Ft Belvoir who killed himself and is on the Wall….Just because he was on active duty he can be honored, but Sgt Hansen although menaced by the same demons can’t because he was an actual VETERAN.
Veterans are excluded from being on the City of Jax Veterans Memorial Wall under the current criteria.
Many in the Veterans community believe Sgt Hansen should be allowed to be honored along with others on the Wall, some who never served in combat like he did on two occasions. Veterans need to have more involvement in the decision making process; they have been excluded thus far.
The city response that the Hansen family needs to make a request can be answered with his family is making a request…His Marine family is making that request.
He deserves to be on this Wall/honored in his hometown and if not allowed why have the aforementioned been allowed? Why can’t the city make an exception for a hometown Marine combat Veteran,why is his hometown excluding him while it seems to be allowing exceptions for some from other hometowns to be honored on a Jacksonville Memorial Wall?
Include him, change the criteria to allow Veterans to be included or change the name of the Wall to something other than VETERANS Memorial Wall.