Family Ties Help Wounded Marine
(August 6, 2010)
|POL–E-CHARKI, Afghanistan, Aug. 4, 2010 – When Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Gerardo
“Josh” DeAvila was wounded in Marja, Afghanistan, July 10, he was half a world
away from home. But he quickly was surrounded by family and friends, due to a
strong military family and community.
DeAvila, assigned to Company I, 3rd Battalion of the 6th Regiment, heard
shots fired and then felt what he described as “a baseball bat” hitting him.
Shortly after a medic came around, DeAvila saw the blood and realized he had
He was evacuated to Camp Dwyers and then Bagram Airfield for surgery.
Doctors discovered he had been shot twice; one bullet missed major arteries
in his arm, and the other barely missed his spinal cord and lodged in his
Meanwhile, Army Maj. David DeAvila of Holland, Mich., serving in
northeastern Afghanistan, received word from home that his nephew
August 1, 2010 --
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Gerardo “Josh” DeAvila, left, poses with, left to right,
his cousin, Army Staff Sgt. David DeAvila; his father, Army Sgt. Jerry DeAvila
of the Georgia National Guard; his brother-in-law, Army Spc. Josh Head; and his
uncle, Army Maj. David DeAvila. Courtesy photo
had been hurt.
“I myself am on orders with the 82nd Airborne attached to the 101st at Camp
Blackhorse as the day shift chief of operations,” the major said. “I received
text messages from the States that Josh had been hurt and would be headed to
Major DeAvila cleared it through his chain of command to arrange transport to
Bagram to be with his nephew.
“I was able to spend 12 hours with him, feeding him water and juice through a
straw and helping to keep him comfortable,” he said. “I sat by his bed the
The DeAvilas are a close-knit, very pro-military family, the major said. “It was
a bit difficult for me to see him in that condition. ... I held Josh the same day
he was born,” he recalled. “In fact, my son David, a staff sergeant in the Army,
and Josh are more like brothers than cousins. Josh's father recently joined the
National Guard after being out of the military for 20 years.
Major DeAvila said Josh kept waking up, asking if his uncle was comfortable. He
said he told his nephew, “I have been in the Army longer than you have been
alive. Don't worry about me.”
Major DeAvila helped to transport his nephew to the bus that would take him to
the flightline. There, a plane awaited that would carry him to Germany for more
Once in Germany, the lance corporal got another surprise. The chaplain who came
to visit him was Chaplain (Col.) Douglas Kinder. Kinder had married his parents
as a civilian pastor in Roswell, Ga.
The young Marine now is recovering at home in Braselton, Ga.
“Everyone I tell this story to is amazed at the coincidences,” Major DeAvila
said. “It is amazing how God orchestrated the little pieces.”
By Army SSgt. Donald Reeves
American Forces Press Service
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