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FAMILY TRADITION

Iraq war hero’s son in Army serving in Kuwait

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FAMILY TRADITION

Charles Andrew Palmer, an Army soldier currently serving in Kuwait, and wife Shannon are flanked by his parents Chuck and Teri Palmer. Charles Andrew was only 15 years old when his father, Marine C...

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POSTED October 29, 2013 12:43 a.m.

Charles Andrew Palmer was a teen-ager in high school when his father paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Marine Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II was killed in action in Kahlidiyah, Iraq, on May 5, 2007.

Today, at age 21, Charles Andrew is also serving his country in a Middle Eastern country right at the geographical doorstep of the foreign land where his father gave up his life defending freedom.

“I’m sure he was inspired by his father, by my son-in-law, my husband, my dad – we have a lot of military in the family,” said proud grandmother Teri Palmer. “I don’t know all the reasons why he went into the military.”

Unlike his father, Charles Andrew did not enlist in the service right after graduating from high school. That happened a year and a half later. After receiving his diploma from Manteca High in 2010, he went to Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento where he completed his training as an automotive and diesel technician. After finishing his studies and training at UTI, it was only then that “he decided he wanted to join the military,” said Palmer.

But unlike his late father, who was killed after his re-enlistment in the Marine Corps, Charles Andrew chose the Army branch of the military. His unit is stationed in Colorado. He drives a tanker in Kuwait.

Teri Palmer said her grandson will be stationed in Kuwait for nine months. He is also talking about a career in the military, which is quite pleasing to his grandmother who said with a smile in her voice, “it takes special people to stay in the military.”

Just as the late Cpl. Palmer had his son when he was a young member of the Marine Corps, Charles Andrew himself is a young father. His son, Dylan, just celebrated his first birthday in September.

“I’m a great-grandma. Isn’t that a blessing?” said a happy and proud Teri Palmer.

Charles Andrew and his wife Shannon were high school sweethearts. Shannon graduated from Sierra High School in 2011. The young stay-at-home mom – at least, for now – said she and her husband, like any military couple, try to stay in touch either via telephone or video cam whenever possible. But the fact of the matter is, “he’s usually asleep when I’m awake, and I’m usually awake when he’s asleep,” she said with a small laugh, noting the vast geographical divide separating them.

“But I’ve kind of learned to live with it,” she said.

Unlike her husband, there are “no military members in my family,” she said.

Her husband’s side, though, is the complete opposite. It takes Teri Palmer a while to rattle off the names on both sides of their family who have served, or are serving in the military. There’s her husband, Chuck, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War. “But he did not go there. He was one of the last draftees,” she explained. Chuck’s three brothers also served their time in the military. One of them has passed away.

Then there’s Teri’s father, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. Two of her three brothers also served. And all their three children were in the service. Son Jason was in the Navy. Daughter Jenny was in the Army and is now a stay-at-home mom while her husband is still an active Army soldier. Third son Charles II was the U.S. Marine who was killed in the Anbar Province of Iraq during his second enlistment in the Marine Corps.

Even in the wake of the tragedy that had befallen their family, Teri and Chuck Palmer continue to be very strong supporters of the country’s military.

“The military, even though bad things happen sometimes, it’s still a good place for young men and women to go to work, get disciplined and get trained and learn how to be a team member,” Teri said.

After boot camp, “they come out very proud, independent young men and women. They lose that baby look; they can be part of something bigger than themselves. Sometimes I wish everybody would serve a year or two in the military. It would be good for their country, and for them,” she said.

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