Warfighter recognizes hometown supporters
|Wanda Musulin, center, a member of the Soaring Eagle Blue Star Moms, reacts when her son, Joe Musulin, a Marine stationed in North Carolina who’s served two tours in Afghanistan, makes a surprise visit to Susanville at the Mazatlan Grill.|
Joe and his mother, Wanda Musulin, share a tearful embrace. Chad Musulin was in on the plan to bring his son, Joe, to town, but he’s overcome with emotion, too.
Feb. 5, 2013 — Love of country and love of family are alive and well in Susanville.
Marine Sgt. Joe Musulin, a 2005 Lassen High School graduate stationed in North Carolina, knows both topics well.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and has served eight years in the infantry so far, including two deployments as a platoon sergeant in Afghanistan. He said he plans to make a career in the Marine Corps and may even become a drill sergeant to help train new recruits and “make them Marines.”
Musulin said the whole family hasn’t been together since 2007 — and with help from his father, Chad Musulin, the Soaring Eagle Chapter of the Blue Star Moms and the local Patriot Guard, a secret plot was hatched for a surprise visit to Susanville.
Joe’s little brother Sam, a Marine stationed in San Diego, had planned to join the festivities, but was unable to get away.
Joe’s mother, Wanda Musulin, a member of the Blue Star Moms, thought she was going to have lunch with the group at Mazatlan Grill Saturday, Jan. 27 to recognize the Patriot Guard for their service protecting Gold Star families from hecklers and protesters at funerals and meeting warfighters when they return home from their deployments. The Blue Star Moms and the Patriot Guard have met many local warfighters at the airport in Reno over the past few years.
As the two groups crowded together for a photograph, a Patriot Guard member made a cell phone call and then yelled out, “Wait a minute, there’s one more person we have to get in this picture, and he’s out in the parking lot. I’ll be right back.”
He returned, not with a Patriot Guard rider, but with Musulin.
Emotion swept across his mother’s face, and the two shared several long and tearful embraces as members of both groups smiled applauded.
Even Chad, who was in on the ruse from the start, got more than a little teary-eyed.
In addition to the family get-together, Joe said he wanted to say thank you to the Blue Star Moms and the Patriot Guard for their support.
He said words could not express how much the packages sent by the Blue Star Moms mean to the warfighters overseas. He said getting the support from the folks back at home means a lot to the warfighters. It’s not the money or the items themselves that are important, but the gifts show the people at home care.
“The support we get from home makes it easier to do what we do,” Musulin said.
He said while the local Blue Star Moms sent many boxes, packages, letters and cards to his unit, many Marines don’t get anything at all from home.
At one time Musulin said he had 16 tubes of toothpaste — enough to last him a lifetime — but he shared the bounty with other Marines who didn’t receive any packages from home. Most of the warfighters in his unit did the same thing.
“I love the Marine Corps,” Musulin said. “I’ve had many opportunities to get out, and I’ve never taken one of them. I’ve met a lot of Marines who have died, and that makes me want to do this forever.”
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