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So Manteca never forgets

Ground breaking on park honoring Charles O. Palmer II

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So Manteca never forgets

Palmer

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POSTED April 6, 2014 11:09 p.m.

Manteca’s next neighborhood park is honoring fallen Marine Corporal Charles O. Palmer II.

Raymus Homes is breaking ground on Saturday, May 24, at 10 a.m. during the Memorial Day weekend on the park being named in Palmer’s honor.

The park is in the new Oleander Estates neighborhood Raymus Homes is building southwest of Union Road and Woodard Avenue.

The developers, when they announced the plan to name the park after Palmer several years ago, indicated they wanted to help make sure people never forget the sacrifice the Marine made on their behalf.

Palmer was one of two Marines killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad, on May 5, 2007. He was the first Manteca soldier to fall in the Global War on Terror.

Palmer, 36, wasn’t even assigned duty to go out as a gunner on that fateful day. Palmer volunteered to go instead. His fellow Marines said Palmer realized that someone who was assigned to go in front instead of at the back was due to become a father and leave Iraq soon. That’s why he insisted on trading places. After all, the corporal reasoned, his fellow Marine was about to become a father and shouldn’t take as many chances.

Palmer was a 1989 Manteca High graduate.

He had donned school colors proudly as a football player, band member, wrestler, and as part of the track team.

Classmates remember Palmer as a guy that everyone liked who had an infectious sense of humor, and who was good at whatever he tackled.

None of them were surprised when he enlisted in the Marines a year after graduation. And they all thought it was within Palmer’s character given his sense of honor and his desire “to do the right thing” that prompted him to re-enlist after a 12-year hiatus from active duty and to fight in Iraq as a combat Marine.

The plaza near the entrance to the Big League Dreams sports complex is also dedicated in Palmer’s honor.

His parents — Charles and Teri Palmer —launched an effort shortly after their son’s death to send care packages routinely to Marines serving in harm’s way. That effort with the community’s help continues today.

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