Chuck and Teri Palmer — who launched a troop support in honor of their son Marine Corporal Charles O. Palmer II who was killed in the Global War on Terror — are being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremonies and dinner takes place Saturday, May 18, at 6 p.m. at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $65. They are available through the Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St, or by calling 239-KIDS.
The Palmers are being inducted for special recognition.
Other inductees in the Class of 2019 are Larry Lee Barnhizer, art; Ken Sanders, community service; Frank C. Mello, agriculture; Janet Fiore, Janice Zacharias, and Gloria Stanley, group; Benjamin Edward Taylor, health care; Vince Hernandez, education; Senator Cathleen Galgiani, government; Kenneth Summers, business; and Georgiann Rose, at large.
Since the Palmers founded the USMC Corporal Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program in 2008, they have — with the support of a small army of volunteers and a generous community — shipped more than 24,000 packages to troops serving America in harm’s way. The boxes are filled with personal care products, a variety of other items that can range from beef jerky and candy to water guns, and handwritten notes thanking military personnel for their service.
They also stage a formal Christmas ball that helps fund efforts to help struggling war veterans that have returned home.
Most people in Manteca unfortunately became aware of the Palmers’ son only after his death while serving America. His midweek funeral procession in May of 2007 drew more than 5,000 people to line the streets of Manteca to pay their respect. Included were students at Manteca High where Palmer graduated in 1989 as well as the entire student body of Lincoln School clutching American flags. Lincoln — along with Sequoia and Shasta — was where Palmer attended elementary school.
Charles O. Palmer served from 1992 to 1996 in the Marines. Once he was discharged he opted to sign on for four years in the Marine reserve while starting work at a tool rental company. A customer convinced him to go into business with him through a powder coating firm.
When he turned 34 Palmer called up his dad and told him he was thinking about re-enlisting in the Marines. Buddies that he had served with were now fighting for their country in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Palmer felt he belonged beside his buddies.
Time was also against him if he wanted to get back in uniform. The Marines would not take him back once he turned 35.
Charles told his son to think about it for three months before making a decision. Palmer did and decided it was absolutely what he wanted to do.
“(Charles) told me he felt that God was calling him to serve,” his mother said.
Charles recalled talking to his son about how tough it would be as a 34-year-old tackling rigorous training especially the final challenge known as “the Crucible” — a 54-hour training exercise that validates the tough physical, mental, and moral training that Marines undertake. He was going to be 15 or 16 years older than most of the other recruits.
“He said it wouldn’t be a problem,” Charles said.
And it wasn’t.
He wasn’t doing it for the money. He was doing it to be a part of something bigger than him and to do something important with his life.
Charles recalled how his son’s platoon commander at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina said he would keep pressing him to be sent to Iraq so he could serve alongside his buddies. The commander told him each time that it wasn’t time for his rotation. Finally to get Palmer to stop pestering him, he had his orders cut.
On that fateful day on May 5, 2007 Palmer, then 36, volunteered to go on a combat mission in Anbar to replace the assigned gunner who had been injured. It was typical Palmer. His fellow Marines related how Palmer — upon hearing a fellow Marine was due to become a father and leave Iraq soon — insisted that his comrade go to the back so he could take over point.
That was Palmer in a nutshell — unselfishly thinking about others.
Charles served in the Army from 1972 to 1974 followed by four years of inactive duty. His hobbies are fishing, motocross, camping and traveling. Teri’s hobbies are reading, praying, gardening and playing with the grandkids.
They have three children — Charles O. Palmer II, Jason and Jeni. They also have 15 grandchildren and three great=grandchildren.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org