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U.S. Marine veteran Ralph Simoneau from the 5th Marine Division shakes hands with Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Cristopher Marquez during a visit to the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Island of Hawaii, Oct. 20, 2017. The veterans of 5th Marine Division visited as part of the 68th Annual Reunion of the 5th Marine Division Association Tour. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ricky Gomez)

Photo by Sgt. Ricky Gomez

5th Marine Division veterans visit the Pohakuloa Training Area

25 Oct 2017 | Lance Cpl. Isabelo Tabanguil III Marine Expeditionary Force

U.S. Marine veterans of the 5th Marine Division visited the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island of Hawaii, Oct. 20, 2017.

The veterans came to PTA as part of the 68th Annual Reunion of the 5th Marine Division Association. During their stay they had the chance to see displays of the current weapons and equipment used by U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

“It was really nice to meet the Iwo Jima veterans as everyone in the Marine Corps knows Iwo Jima was a huge part of our history and background,” said Pfc. Nick Bensette, a native of Detroit, Michigan, and machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. “I never got to meet my grandfather who served during World War II, and passed away when I was still young, so meeting all these veterans is a good way for me to get new knowledge and pass it on to the next generation.”

Bensette said he felt great pride to demonstrate and explain how the modern equipment belonging to the current generation of Marines works.

“It’s nice to give back to the people who have served us before,” Bensette said. “I’m kind of following in their footsteps which is a big accomplishment for me to do what they did as Marines.”

Ralph Simoneau, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and an Iwo Jima veteran who served with the 5th Marines, said he was immediately reminded of what he was use to when he arrived at PTA.

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