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Memorial program helps soldiers on the front lines
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In the last two years, a Manteca support program has sent more than 5,000 care packages to 800 American troops overseas.

It’s a program that was launched by Charles and Teri Palmer, the parents of United States Marine Corps Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II who was killed in action in Iraq on May 5, 2007. The Palmers started the Memorial Troop Support Program in memory and in honor of their son who paid the ultimate price for his country and for freedom. It is also designed to give “everyday” citizens the opportunity to reach out to American soldiers who are serving on the front lines defending their country, according to the support program’s web site.

While the numbers tell how much the program has accomplished so far, “We don’t count our success by the numbers,” the fallen soldier’s father told the people who gathered at the Library Park on Veterans Day which featured him as the guest speaker.

“The uniqueness of our program is that we get rosters from the commanders, and thus we are able to ship to a specific person, making it much more personal,” Palmer said.

He then read a thank-you letter sent by Warrant officer Randy Lee Banks of the United States Marine Corps in response to a care package they received from the Palmers. The letter reads in part, “We appreciate the thought and the time you and your family put into the package. I remember your card saying, ‘it’s hard to pack a box for someone you don’t know.’ Well, you did a good job. I don’t believe that any of us consider ourselves heroes. You may, and we appreciate that mentality. To us, the heroes are the Marines that do not make it back home.”

The Palmers are inviting those who “have a friend or family member who is serving in the military” to add their names to their shipping list by sending them an e-mail at or log on to for more information about the care package program.

Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II was killed in Khalidiyah in the Anbar province of Iraq during a combat mission while trying to open up and secure a supply line from Ramada to Baghdad. An improvised explosive device (IED) was set off by the enemy killing Palmer II and his master sergeant, with the driver sustaining burns over 90 percent of his body.