Memorial plaque dedicated to the fallen Navy, Navy Cross recipient Donald Hogan, on the anniversary of his death in Afghanistan – Orange County Register
COSTA MESA – August 26, 2009 changed Carla and Jim Hogan’s lives forever.
It was on this day that their 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, a Marine with the 1st Battalion / 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, was killed in Nawa, Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded.
“It had an impact on our family and the direction our lives would take,” said Jim Hogan, 62, of San Clemente. “It really changed everything.”
On Sunday, nine years to the day of Donald Hogan’s death, a bronze memorial – an exact replica of a Navy Cross quote – was unveiled in a ceremony at Heroes Hall in Costa Mesa. The Hall, on the OC Fairgrounds, is a museum and education center dedicated to the legacy of Orange County veterans and others who served in the military.
Approximately 40 people attended the event, including command staff from 1st Battalion / 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, other Marines who served with Donald Hogan, as well as family and friends.
Gunnery Sgt. Juan Elizondo, a military dog handler who patrolled with Donald Hogan and other Marines that night nine years ago, recounted the events leading up to his death.
Hogan had volunteered to patrol to check for reported improvised explosive devices. He and Elizondo had passed a specific spot twice and neither they nor the dog noticed anything suspicious. But when Hogan saw a kite rope in the road suddenly tighten, indicating that an IED was about to be triggered, he pushed a nearby Marine and warned the rest of the team.
Hogan was the only Marine killed that day.
Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, presented the Navy Cross to the Hogans at Camp Pendleton in 2012. The award is the Corps’ second highest decoration for heroism in combat.
While the Hogans – Gold Star parents – are often recognized at ceremonies at Camp Pendleton, recognition from Heroes Hall also meant a lot to the San Clemente couple.
“It was just beautiful in its simplicity,” Carla Hogan said of the plaque. “That says everything you need to know about Donald and what he did. I’m not sure a lot of people know what a Navy Cross is, but they can read the history of his actions on this day- the.
For the Hogans, Sunday’s tribute was also an opportunity to be with their Marine Corps family and with some of the Marines their son saved that day.
“It was hard to see that the act (of what happened) still had an impact on all the Marines,” Jim Hogan said. “As parents, we think about our loss. The Marines also lost that day. There was a Marine they couldn’t bring home. His company commander, platoon commander and platoon sergeant all wear this today.
“The Marines he saved mourn him and still honor him,” he said. “I think most civilians don’t understand this level of sacrifice because they don’t face it. The Marines live with it every day.
Since Donald Hogan’s death, his parents have remained linked to the Marines.
In 2011, they founded Socks For Heroes, a nonprofit organization that provides socks to deployed Marines. The couple came up with the idea after talking to the Marines and learning what they needed most. During deployments, the Marines reported, they must wash their socks in the canals and air dry them; with the socks constantly picking up sand and gravel, they are unusable within days.
“It has become a mission,” said Carla Hogan. “It was really therapy for Jim and me. It was a way of staying close to the Marine Corps. It was a way of keeping in touch with him.
To date, the Hogans have shipped 48 tonnes (475,000 pairs) of socks with help from groups such as Mission Viejo Elks, Strategic Hotels and San Diego Padres – the team has a sock-wrapping event scheduled for Wednesday. August 29. in Petco Park after the baseball game.
Keeping their son’s memory alive through their charity and outreach activities at Camp Pendleton not only helped their loss, the Hogans said, but showed other Marines the impact of their own service. .
“The greatest honor we have received was at a change of command ceremony when Lt. Col. Mark Carlton told us why we mattered, and that is a reminder to all Marines when they go on duty. war, that they take a family with them, ”says Jim. “It was important for them to know that.”
But the tragedy also left the Hogans with a new family.
“Everyone has two families, one is your blood and the other is from your heart,” he said. “That’s what the Marines are to us.”