Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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Marcus Ziemke (second from right) with other members of his Marine battalion in Afghanistan. Marcus Ziemke (second from right) with other members of his Marine battalion in Afghanistan.

Student Vets Rally Support for Troops in Afghanistan

The Student Veteran Organization will fundraise for the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines out of Camp Pendleton.
By Samantha Afetian

Fighting a war is never an easy task, but surviving a war is the most difficult task of all. This is the lesson that the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines (3/5) are unfortunately learning right now in Afghanistan.

For the Marines of 3/5, everyday is a constant battle to survive. Currently stationed in Sangin, Afghanistan, they tread land riddled with improvised explosive devices, and are constantly being bombarded by small arms fire.

Some have sacrificed their limbs for their country; others have sacrificed their lives.

During October, the first month of their deployment, 3/5 lost nine of their men within a four-day period. Since their arrival, the battalion has lost 22 men, with reports of about 50 more wounded.

They are scheduled to return home in March 2011.

Student Veteran Organization

The SDSU SVO has made its mission this year to support 3/5. Many of SDSU’s student veterans served in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq — they understand the hardships of war and want to do everything possible to help.

“We should always remind these warriors that there are still people back home who care for them and will go the extra mile to keep them in high spirits,” said Marcus Ziemke, SDSU SVO vice president, a Marine who re-supplied 3/5 during his tour in 2008. “We don't have to necessarily agree or support the wars, but we should always support our fighting Americans who stood up and decided to defend this country. To fail them would be a failure in our way of life.”

Care packages

To rally support, the SVO is currently collecting supplies for care packages for 3/5. Because of the battalion’s remote location, 3/5 never receives care packages from organizations like Any Marine. The packages from SVO will be sent directly to the battalion.

Many of the student veterans said these care packages are the best way to support troops through the stresses and turmoil of the battlefield.

“Ambushes happen frequently and keep these Marines in constant apprehension,” Ziemke said. “These men may be mentally fatigued, as well, and these packages are vital to ease the anguish of their missions.”

The Marines of 3/5 requested the following items:
  • Socks
  • Soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Other hygiene items
  • Non-perishable food items, such as jerky
  • Magazines
  • Tobacco

These items can be brought directly to the Veterans House, located on the corner of 55th and Montezuma Road, and to the SDSU Veterans Center on campus. Items will be collected until 3/5 returns in March.

Woodstock’s Pizza fundraiser

SVO is hosting a fundraiser from 5–8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13, at Woodstock’s Pizza on El Cajon Boulevard. If an SVO flier is presented at the register, up to 25 percent of proceeds will be donated to fund the shipping of the care packages to 3/5.

The fundraiser also extends to deliveries. Simply give the driver the SVO flier.

Download the SVO fundraising flier.

Get involved

To further support 3/5, visit the battalion's website, or stop by the Veterans House for more information.

To stay updated on the fundraising efforts, information can be found on the “Help the SVO support 3/5” Facebook page.