Hi My name is Donald G. Downer Jr., born May 22, 1929.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I quit high school at the age of seventeen, and joined the United States Marine Corps in September 1946. I went to Parris Island boot camp, then on to Great Lakes Il, for basic radio technician's school. I was then ordered to Camp Pendleton, CA, for radio technician's school, then on to Tsingtao, China, as then the youngest sergeant in the Marine Corps, at 18 years, 9 months.
While in China, my Mom would send me Care Packages, which took 30 days by boat, no mail by airplanes in those days. When those packages finally arrived, the chocolate chip cookies were just crumbs, they were still a delight. The Marines would gather around and share in the crumbs. When the last crumb was gone, the remaining dust was poured in the coffee, nothing was wasted. The high light of the care package (for awhile) was SPAM. My Mom continued sending a can in every package. Soon I couldn't stand the sight of the stuff.
Even back then a care package was a huge morale booster; we then knew that the folks back home were 100% behind our mission.
I was honorably discharged in 1949, and joined the "inactive Marine Reserves". I then enrolled at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. I completed my first year, and then was called to active duty when the Korean War broke out. I spent 2 years on active duty, commissioned and ordered to the 3rd AMTRAC Bn, Camp Pendleton, CA. I was honorably discharged in 1952, and completed college in 1956 with a BSEE.
I married my high school sweetheart, Elsie Trosky, in 1955, and we started a family. We raised all five of our lovely daughters in Columbia, MD.
The next 33 years I worked at The Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, as a Guided Missile Systems Engineer, retiring from there in 1989.
I know how important it is to get a Care Package from home when one is deployed overseas in the military. I am now compelled to ensure, in some small way, to make as many of these deployed service personnel a little happier when they receive a Care Package, from someone back home who cares.
God Bless you, and those who are serving with you. Thank you for your service to our great country, by preserving our security and freedom.
Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation
This Day, June 12, 2009
Awarded to Don Downer, for Your Outstanding Support of Our Troops wile deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom IX. Special Troops Battalion thanks you for your dedication to all Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors. Your kindness has greatly supported the morale of all troops throughout Afghanistan. "Duty First"
Patrick L. Daniel Jr.
Command Sgt. Maj.
TF Mountain Warrior Patriot of the week
TF Mountain Warrior of the day
SPC Matthew Horne
HHT, 3-61 CAV
Don - you have absolutely no need to thank us! You are the one we need to thank; you have selflessly supported our unit for the past year. The time and money you dedicate to supporting the troops is amazing and we can never repay you!
Thanks for EVERYTHING you have done for us.
To Don Downer
Thanks for your outstanding support of the men & women of 3D Brigade Combat Assault Team, 1st Infantry Division
Commanders Coin from the Combat Assault Battalion, Lt. Col. Yaroslaski, letter from D.S. Demer, Capt. USMC
Essay submitted by Spencer McGuire
Title: Every Day
For: Patriot's Pen Essay Contest
October 8, 2009
Sixty-three years ago, my grandfather enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September of 1946. At the age of 18, he served in Tsingato, China as the youngest sergeant at the time. His mother would constantly ship him care packages, consisting of assorted items, but always a can of Spam and cookies. Spam quickly became a bit of an inside joke to him. He received an honorable discharge in 1949, and was called back to duty for the Korean war in 1950. My grandfather’s life as a soldier has left him with a great deal of respect for the men and women who serve today, and he knows exactly when to honor them. Every day.
Now, he both honors and helps our heroes by sending the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan care packages, and he has just reached the landmark of four hundred and fifty packages sent to heroes overseas. He does this because he knows that no matter how rough it gets, soldiers love a taste of home. No matter what he puts in the packages, the brave warriors are always glad to receive them, even the can of Spam he sends as a small joke. Many people honor the incredible people in our military that we owe our freedom, and very probably our lives, whenever the appropriate day rolls around. My grandfather is an incredible man for knowing that they deserve so much more than that. He honors them every day.
Our heroes that we owe so much to are the few who rushed into the Twin Towers as they were on fire and about to collapse, in desperate hope that lives could be saved. Our heroes are the ones who searched the jungles of Korea, every day knowing that they could be surrounded by their enemies and never see home again. Our heroes are the ones who have enlisted of their own accord and plunged themselves into the harsh conditions of the Middle East and chosen to fight every day they are able, just so that we can enjoy our lives as peacefully and as free as our founding fathers intended. We should remember all of the people who have served, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They have given their lives so we can continue ours, deserving respect more often than on a holiday! The right time to honor our heroes is each and every day.
Don holding his 350th Care Package to the troops. Help Don reach 1000 Care Packages by donating here.