Car Show and Our Wounded Warriors
BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — Beneath the glistening chrome and
flawless paint jobs of rows of cars and motorcycles, revving engines
roared and throaty exhausts thrust vibrations through the ground at a
Wounded Warrior Benefit Car Show outside the Navy Exchange near Joint
Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 25, 2011.
The car show, organized by Marines from Aircraft Rescue Firefighting,
Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, was held to honor and
raise money for wounded Marines and sailors with Wounded Warrior
Battalion West — Detachment Hawaii, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
“None of our wounded warriors should be forgotten,” said Cpl. Nathan
Whitaker, a firefighter with ARFF who helped organize the event. “They
are deploying, coming back hurt and giving up time from their families,
so the least we can do is honor them by hosting this car show."
Touted as one of Hawaii’s largest ever, the car show featured 311 hot
rods, imports, trucks and motorcycles entered by prior, retired or
active duty service members, the general public and clubs such as 808
Camaro, Aloha Mustang, Corvette of Hawaii, Mopar Hawaii, The Rust
Buckets and the Volkswagen Club of Hawaii.
“This car show gives us a chance to show the wounded warriors we support
them,” said entrant John Eagle, a Navy Fleet Marine Force hospital
corpsman who served on the USS Lexington and USS Yorktown from 1955 to
Coming on the heels of the completion of December’s 26.3-mile Honolulu
Marathon by seven ARFF Marines, the car show was the second event the
firefighters used to raise money for wounded warriors. For the second
year in a row on Dec. 12, they completed the grueling marathon in boots,
camouflage utilities, and over 70 pounds of gear and raised more than
$2,000 for their cause.
“Our biggest reward was seeing the wounded warriors smiling and enjoying
the show,” said Whitaker, from Burlington, Iowa. “I never thought the
car show was going to be this big, but its success made the man hours
and stressful nights of planning worth it.”
Surveying the show’s competition, wounded warriors from the detachment
selected their top three vehicles, awarding customized "Wounded
Warriors’ Choice" awards to the drivers of a 1969 Harley Davidson 900CC
Ironhead motorcycle, a 1956 Chevy Truck, and a 1978 Pontiac Grand
“We like to see the support because it shows that people still care
about us and what we’re doing,” said Lance Cpl. David Hawkins, formerly a
scout sniper with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment,
and now a wounded warrior with the detachment.
During a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring
Freedom last September, Hawkins and two fellow Marines were injured when
they were struck by a remote-controlled improvised explosive device.
“This is why I joined — to see events like this come together,” said Hawkins, from Parker, Colo.
After the last vehicle left the parking lot, the ARFF Marines counted a
total of $6,349 dollars raised for their wounded brothers-in-arms,
bringing the amount from the marathon and car show to $8,418.
The Wounded Warrior Detachment will largely use the donation for family
support, such as childcare emergencies due to doctor’s appointments, or
purchasing plane tickets to reunite wounded warriors and their families,
said Lt. Col. Gregory Price, officer in charge, Wounded Warrior
Battalion West — Detachment Hawaii.
“We rely heavily on non-government support to help our wounded warriors
and their families during their recovery and rehabilitation,” said
Price, of Carlsbad, Calif. “There are already significant amounts of
stresses in their lives, and this money will be used to minimize these
Under a setting orange sun, white-haired former corpsman John Eagle, sat
relaxed on the fender of his custom, yellow 1934 Ford Cabriolet,
surveying the colorful collage of vehicles that filled the parking lot.
“Having been in the military, we know what these guys are going
through,” said Eagle, from Ewa Beach. “Once you’ve been in the service,
you don’t forget about the sacrifices our service members make."
He spoke slowly and calculatedly, each pause revealing a deeper meaning to his attendance at this car show.
“We want the wounded warriors to get better, no matter what the cost is
to us,” Eagle said. “They’re pretty much all we’ve got, aren’t they?”
Amidst the dull roar of mechanic chatter, oldies music, and the
occasional revving of an engine, his words faded into the falling