For much of this summer, combat-injured Marine veteran and double-amputee Toran Gaal has been on a cross-country cycling trip to Arlington.
On June 1, Gaal set off from San Diego on his “Ride Across America,” an almost 4,000 mile trek which he will complete entirely on a hand-cycle.
Gaal embarked on the journey to raise money and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund, the charity that helped him recover after he was severely injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011. Following the explosion, Gaal was comatose for two months and lost both legs and part of his hip.
“[The Semper Fi Fund] is doing so much good for every branch,” said Gaal. “I wanted to pay it forward to the next generation.”
Gaal will have been on the road for 65 days by the time he’s expected to arrive in Arlington this Sunday, Aug. 2. He will have stopped in close to 50 other towns and cities along the way. At the end of his ride, he will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Brian Riley, fellow combat-injured Marine veteran, is accompanying Gaal on the road in a support vehicle.
Photo via www.hisshoesmove.com
Clement Running for County Board — Perennial local candidate Audrey Clement is running for Arlington County Board. Her paperwork was certified by election officials yesterday, placing her on the Nov. 3 ballot. Clement has ditched the Green Party label and is now running as an independent. Among her top issues are the historic preservation of Wilson School, getting developers to provide more community benefits and eliminating the 12.5 cent commercial real estate surcharge tax. [InsideNova]
Road Closures for Four Miler — A number of roads will be closed for much of Saturday morning for the Four Courts Four Miler. Among the planned closures are northbound Route 110 and Wilson Blvd from Courthouse Road to Route 110. [Arlington County]
Marine Corps Marathon Lottery Begins Today — Registration for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is being conducted via an online lottery, begins at noon today. The registration period closes at noon on March 23. The registration fee, for those who get in, is $125 plus processing fees. [Marine Corps Marathon]
New Gymnastics, Aquatics Fee Structure — In her FY 2016 budget, County Manager Barbara Donnellan is proposing a new fee structure for gymnastics and aquatics teams. The fees will recover “no more than 100 percent of direct costs,” and would be a savings of around 15 percent compared to the current fees. [Arlington County]
Tighter Security at Fort Myer — Some bicyclists are worried that tighter security measures put in place this week at Fort Myer will limit non-military personnel from accessing the base. Cyclists often use Fort Myer to travel safely between south Arlington and north Arlington without having to ride on Columbia Pike. Arlington County, meanwhile, has been working on some trail projects that would make north-to-south and south-to-north bike travel safer. [Greater Greater Washington]
Goldstein Announces School Board Run — Reid Goldstein has announced that he’s running for Arlington School Board. Goldstein, a “longtime Arlington schools, County and neighborhood advocate,” will seek the seat of the retiring Abby Raphael. “We must be honest and diligent stewards of our community’s money and trust as we work to preserve and improve the high quality of Arlington’s schools, even as enrollment increases,” Goldstein said in a press release.
National Airport Hits Passenger Record — Reagan National Airport set a new record for passenger traffic in 2014. Some 20.8 million passengers used Reagan last year, a 2 percent increase. With traffic decreasing at Dulles International, MWAA plans to share as much as $300 million in revenue from Reagan to Dulles over a 10 year span. [Washington Business Journal]
New Marine Corps Sergeant Major — Assuming they’re not deterred by the cold, the Marine Corps will hold a ceremony this morning at the Iwo Jima War Memorial, celebrating the appointment of Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green. Green will serve as the Corps’ 18th sergeant major, its highest enlisted rank. [Marine Corps Times]
Nick Anderson Leaving Arrowine — Former ARLnow.com “Beermonger” columnist Nick Anderson has announced that he is leaving Arrowine. Saturday will be his last day at the Lee Highway beer and wine store. [Arrowine]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Marines in Arlington and around the world are celebrating the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.
On Nov. 10, 1775, a committee of the Continental Congress met at a Philadelphia tavern and passed a resolution establishing the Continental Marines. Exactly 236 years later, the Corps is as strong and spirited as ever.
The video (above) is the annual Commandant’s Birthday Message to the Corps.
Local Marines will be celebrating the birthday tonight at a Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City.
Mailer Blasts GOP State Senate Candidate — A mysterious last-minute political mailer has been sent to voters in the 32nd state Senate District. The mailer attacks GOP state Senate candidate Patrick Forrest for being “openly homosexual,” supporting “illegal immigration reform” and for supposedly working for President Obama’s transition team. Forrest’s opponent, incumbent state Sen. Janet Howell, spoke out against the mailers, calling them “disgusting and despicable.” The mailing’s return address comes back to a parking lot, and the organization it purports to come from does not exist. [Blue Virginia]
Arlington Man Charged With Murder — A 27-year-old Arlington man has been charged with second degree murder in Hawaii. Christopher Deedy, a special agent with the State Department, allegedly shot a man during a late-night argument at a McDonald’s in Waikiki. [KHON 2]
Post Endorses Tejada, Hynes — The Washington Post has endorsed incumbent Democrats Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes for reelection to the Arlington County Board. The paper’s editorial board called their opponent, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, “well informed” but “anti-growth.” Clement, meanwhile, is accusing Tejada and Hynes of being “in bed with developers.” [Washington Post]
D.C. Cop Seeks Legal Fees from Arlington Lawyer — A D.C. police officer is asking her ex-boyfriend, an Arlington lawyer, to pay her legal fees (more than $70,000) in a case that included accusations of “attempted stalking,” defamation and civil rights violations. [Legal Times]
Marines Want More Access to APS Students — The U.S. Marine Corps is asking Arlington Public Schools to relax its restrictions on military recruiting at school facilities. While more restrictive than Fairfax County or other local jurisdictions, the school system argues that its rules are consistent with federal law. The Marine Corps says its rate of enlisting Arlington students is far below expectations. [Sun Gazette]
Krupicka Uses Marine in Mailer — State Senate candidate Rob Krupicka has gotten the attention of a conservative web site for printing an endorsement from a Marine sergeant, along with a photo of him in uniform, on a campaign mailer. If the Marine is on active duty, such an endorsement would violate military guidelines. The Sun Gazette’s Scott McCaffrey also points out that Krupicka’s mailer also makes reference to supporting “soldiers and their families” — which would refer to members of the Army but not the Marine Corps. Krupicka, an Alexandria city councilman, is facing off against Arlington School Board Chair Libby Garvey and Del. Adam Ebbin in the Democratic primary. [Sun Gazette]
Medical Care By Lottery — Every month, the Arlington Free Clinic holds a lottery to see who will receive medical care. With demand for care exceeding supply, this month only 25 people were selected out of a pool of 140. [WAMU]
Ballston Farmers Market Starts This Week — The Ballston Farmers Market will hold its season grand opening this Thursday. The market is free and held every Thursday (until October) from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Wellburn Square, between N. Stuart and N. 9th Streets.
Today is the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote the following on his blog to mark the occasion:
For 235 years, United States Marines have earned a privileged place in our hearts. For we know that when there is a tough job to do, we can “send in the Marines,” knowing that they will get the job done.
From Iwo Jima to Inchon, from Khe Sanh to Kandahar, Marines have always been ready to respond whenever and wherever the Nation calls … prepared to meet any challenge or foe … from sea to shore and beyond.
As long as the world is an unstable place, Marines will continue to fight and prevail with the high standards befitting their title … and with the spirit of the Corps that is in the DNA of every warrior privileged to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor.
To every Marine I say thank you. Thank you for your willingness to make the most profound commitment someone can make—to dedicate yourself completely to your service and your country. I also want to extend a special thanks to your families as well. The Marine Corps simply couldn’t be what it is without the extraordinary love and support of our Marine Corps families.
This week, in gatherings large and small, you will come together to honor the rich heritage of the Corps and the proud legacy of the Marines who have gone before you. On this occasion, a grateful Nation commends your service and joins you in celebration.
On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Happy Birthday and Semper Fidelis!
Marines, what are you doing to celebrate?
The motorcyclist who was killed in a crash on Route 50 last Friday will be remembered by friends and family at an Arlington funeral home this afternoon.
Gerald Glasper, a 41-year-old
former retired Marine, was pronounced dead at the hospital after his motorcycle collided with a car in the eastbound lanes of Route 50.
In a tragic irony, the man who police say was driving of the car, 25-year-old Jonathan Mendez, was himself a veteran — a Navy hospital corpsman — who deployed as a medic on a combat mission to Iraq with the First Marine Expeditionary Force, according to his LinkedIn page. More recently, Mendez had been working on a degree in emergency management from the University of Maryland. He has now been charged with manslaughter as a result the accident, according to police.
According to a friend, Glasper was a father who, after leaving the Marines, worked as a bar bouncer and as a construction project manager.
“He was a very special human being,” said the friend, who did not want to be identified. “I wish my son could grow up to be the caliber of a man that he was.”
On an obituary website, friends have been writing their memories of Glasper.
“What a funny, kind, big man,” wrote Chris Croissant of Arlington.
“I can’t begin explain how much joy you brought to everyone who knew you,” wrote Charles Galloway, a friend from the District. “You will be missed brother.”
“Gerald was a great Marine, a true friend and had a special soul,” wrote Richard Fisk, who served with Glasper at a base in Japan. “I will keep him and his family in my prayers. Rest in Peace Marine…Semper Fi.”
A memorial fund has been set up in honor of Glasper. Donations can be sent to Potomac Contruction Group c/o Matt Lentz, 1617 Swann St. N.W., Unit 2, Washington, DC 20009.
A memorial service is being held from 2:00 to 6:00 this afternoon at Murphy Funeral Home in Arlington. An internment will be held in California at a later date.
Photo via Facebook
The Marine Corps’ first Sunset Parade of the year starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The hour-long performance features the music of “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Corps Band and a silent precision drill team.
The parade is free and open to the public. Plus there’s plenty of room on the grounds to lay out a blanket for a picnic before or even during the performance.
The Sunset Parades began in 1956, two years after the unveiling of the memorial. The parades are meant as a “tribute to those whose ‘Uncommon valor was a common virtue.'”
The performances will continue every Tuesday though August 17.
Marine Corps photo.