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Gold Star / Next of Kin Pins

by Teri Palmer on 11/06/17


In 1947, Congress* approved the use of the Gold Star Lapel Button as a way to recognize the families of service members who lose their lives while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. In 1977, the Army approved issue of the Lapel Button for the Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel to honor those who lose their lives while serving on active duty or while assigned in a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status. Issue of the button is retroactive to 29 March 1973." 

These small lapel buttons are normally presented to eligible family members prior to the  military funeral service. Although they are less than an inch in size, they are packed with great meaning and emotion. They are not awards. They are symbols of honor. Here is how you can tell them apart. 


This symbol consists of a gold star on a purple background, bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives during any armed hostilities in which the United States is engaged, dating back to World War I. This includes service members who lose their lives while deployed in support of military operations against the enemy or during an international terrorist attack. 


This symbol consists of a gold star within a circle that commemorates his or her honorable service. The gold star is also surrounded by sprigs of oak that represent the branches of the Armed Forces. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives while serving honorably under circumstances not defined above.  This includes service members who lose their lives while assigned to a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status. It is authorized for issue retroactive to March 29, 1973.

Who can wear the button? 

The family members of deceased service members who are entitled to receive and wear these symbols are the widow or widower; each child, stepchild, and child through adoption; each brother, half brother, sister, and half sister; and each of the parents (this includes mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother through adoption, father through adoption, and foster parents in loco parentis). 


Care Packages for Troops: The life cycle of a Care Package:

by Teri Palmer on 11/06/17

MTSP has been sending Care Packages to the Troops since April 2008.  The Palmer family liked the idea of sending care packages and the part of our motto came from our daughter.  Today we are still sending care packages to our Troops.


So, let’s look at what needs to be done to send one Care Package:

Ø First things first things: Can you afford to send care packages, money to be raised to cover the cost of postage and supplies.  Current cost per package is $20 ($17.45 postage / $2.55 supplies – tape, forms ink for printer, paper, etc.)  For prospective 100 packages cost $2,000 to mail. 

Ø Did you order boxes from the Post Office?  Can take up to 10 days for delivery and sometimes you don’t get them all at once.  Plan ahead.  We try to keep at least 100 boxes on hand.  Oh, and don’t forget the custom forms – which also needs to be ordered in advance.

Ø Contact folks who give us addresses to insure Troop addresses are still valid.  Folks are good at giving us addresses, but not always good about letting us know when Troops are coming home, hence, follow up , follow up, follow up.  This may take several days, and you need to keep calling until you get an answer.  Why?  It cost $20 per package – whether they come back or not.  

Ø You will need 6 or 8 rolls of packaging tape, tape guns, 200-300 several sizes of Ziplock Bags needed for liquid, has a scent or items that can melt, such as Chocolate.

Ø Do you have a location for the packing event?  Places like American Legion/JB Hunt Trucking/VFW’s, will need to be reserved for an event.  Have you posted when and where the Packing Event will be?  Have you printed about 50 – 100 flyers to hand out?  Have you asked for donations; items and monetary? (Over time you will need a go-to list for assistance – try not to ask the same org., people, each time.). 

Ø Plan how the flyers are to be distributed.  Do volunteers know your plan for distribution?  Is the event posted on the Cpl Palmer II MTSP Facebook page / has it been shared?  Sometimes you need to post it to several different pages.  Post in local newspapers Event pages (Tracy, Ripon, Stockton), are there other ways available (businesses…), friends on FB/on-line?  We post on 3-4 pages we like. 

Ø How are donations going??

Ø Now you have a place, will the host provide refreshments? snacks?  If not, you will need to plan to shop for these items or find volunteers willing to help. 

Ø Need a team to come early to help set up, bag items, etc.  find out who will set up tables and / or take down and if you will need to plan a clean-up team?  Who will be making empty care boxes?

Ø Announcements: Thank the hosting entity, welcome special guests (Mayor, etc., speakers are great).  Any other announcements.  Good time to pass info to our volunteers and others that are interested.

Ø So, by now, you should have placed items on the tables by category, instructions on where to start and direction of packing.  Any other info needed while packing. 

Ø You and maybe one other should be working the crowd and thanking them for coming; if they need assistance; are “our” volunteers helping others?

Ø Yeah, you have packed 100 care packages!!!  Have location to store boxes until they are shipped.  And you will need a place that has enough room to finish prep for the post office.

More….???? Your work has just begun!


Ø Items needed for each box: labels – you will need to print 2 return address labels (1 for custom form and one for the care pkg) and 2 ship to addresses (1 for custom form – one for the package): 100 care pkgs require 400 labels.  Make sure you have all the supplies you will need for printing available. 

Ø  Custom form for each package – must match the ship to addressee with names on the pkg.    Additionally, on the custom form, you must hand write items in the box (in general terms, i.e.: candy – 5+; Toys and clothing – 5+; Personal Hygiene 5+; etc.…) for 100 pkgs must be complete.  Each custom form must be signed and dated with the day they ship.  Make sure you have set aside enough time for this manual process. 

Ø Get to know your local Postmasters, they will help plan when the boxes should be brought to the post office.  This helps them to schedule enough people or control work load. 

Ø Get them there and say good bye until the next packing event is scheduled.  And start all over again!!  Therefore, we like to schedule packing events at least 2 weeks apart. 


This is just a simplification about what it takes to make sure our Troops get something from home.  When you have more Troops than boxes, the hard decision comes to decide who gets one and who doesn’t.  Or like now, we have a the Marine SgtMaj of telling us he has 200 men and some females that need care packages.  Many times, we fall short of just getting 200 pkgs per month.  How do you decide?  

Pre-setup takes us (just 2 of us) around 4+ hours a day, many much longer.  To prepare for shipping (custom forms, labels, etc. – there is always an etc.) takes another day or more depending on how many pkgs you have.  Start to finish, a good part of 2 weeks.


Never Forgotten at 46 - Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program Published Manteca Bulletin, by Chuck Palmer · March 26 · Never Forgotten at 46 - Charles Friday was our sons, Charles O Palmer II, 46th birthday. Happy Birthday Son.

by Teri Palmer on 11/06/17

Never Forgotten at, 46 - Charles

Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program

Published Manteca Bulletin, by Chuck Palmer · March 26 · 

Never Forgotten at 46 - Charles

Friday was our sons, Charles O Palmer II, 46th birthday. Happy Birthday Son. We moved to Manteca 1979, Charles was 8 years old. He attended Shasta Elementary, then on to Lincoln Middle School, and on to Manteca High School. Charles liked to be involved with sports: Track and Field, weight lifting, wrestling, and more. He was proud to have been on the MHS Football team. 
Charles was a member of Students in Prevention (SIP). He went to Camp La Honda to assist the disabled while “camping” for two summers in a row. Additionally, he was in the MHS Band. Getting to go to Hawaii to play with the band at the Pro-Bowl Football game. 
Based on the comments from students and friends that also attended MHS, Charles was well liked. But then, he felt called to do something bigger than himself, so he joined US Marine Corps 1992. During his first enlistment, Charles was sent to Kuwait during the Gulf War and when he left active duty, he stayed in the reserves until his friends were being sent to the Middle East in the War on Terror. Charles signed up to go back to active duty. He was 36 years old when he went to Iraq. KIA 5 May 2007. 
Many have sent Birthday wishes to us for Charles. I know that our son would be touched by the out pouring of caring. The Palmer Family would like to extend our Thanks for remembering Charles – Never Forgotten at 46.

Killed in Action 5 May 2007, War on Terrorism/Operation Iraqi Freedom, 8th Com Bn, II MFG, II MEF Forward


Filled with Gold

by Teri Palmer on 11/06/17

February 27, 2017

Filled with Gold

On February 23 & 24, 2017, my wife and I were given the honor, no the privilege to walk in rooms filled with Gold.  We attended the 12th Anniversary of the Gold Star Parents Event at the Marine Memorial Club, SF.  Here we displayed our most precious sons and daughters lost to war(s).   Nearly 95 very brave men and women lit up the room with their Gold Stars that represented the lives of these children; brothers; parents!  Their lives are the shining hope of our freedoms and sacrificial giving.

Wars to protect America’s freedoms with their ultimate sacrifice.  Wars to help other nations win their freedoms and hold on to them.  But isn’t that the call they answered?  Isn’t that what they spent every ounce of courage, even to the death?  I know that was what my son did; USMC Cpl Charles O Palmer II, KIA 5 May 2007, Iraq.

Our son was 36 years old, with 12 years of service, when he was killed.  Charles was respected by his crew; his handle was “old man”; and he had just returned from a mission.  His Master Sergeant requested him for the mission. Charles would obey his orders regardless where they took him.  MSGT Kenneth Mack, USMC KIA 5 May 2007.

While speaking to the other parents, the story was the same, details different, but in the end, they could not be stopped.  In a world where honor and sacrifice seems to be lost, we know it is not.  One only had to look at the Gold in the Remembrance Rooms. 

And the pride that each parent carried – a Gold Star Pin clipped upon their chest.  Rooms of Gold with pictures displayed in the war zones, medals that were earned, examples of their childhood and how they grew to be the Hero he/she are.  They didn’t ask for such display, but it is necessary to keep them alive. For families to say they lived and meant something to others in their lives.  To Never Be Forgotten for their bravery and sacrifice.  And to remind others Freedoms are not Free. 

Nearly 100 Golden Nuggets.  That is what the 2 days were for –

“My wife and I were given the honor, no the privilege to walk in rooms filled with Gold.” 


By Chuck Palmer, Gold Star Dad

USMC Cpl Charles O Palmer II, KIA 5 May 2007, Iraq

8th Com Bn II MHG, II MEF; Attached: TF 1/2, RCT 2

II MEF Forward War On Terrorism/Operation Iraqi Freedom

Non-Profit Status

by Teri Palmer on 07/19/15

The USMC Cpl Charles O Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program (Cpl Palmer MTSP) is now a Non-Profit.  If you are interested donating and getting a tax deduction, please email us at cplpalmersupport@aol.com and we will provide details. Or is you lke, go to our Facebook page @ Cpl Charles O Palmer II and private massage.  We thank everyone that has supported us over the last eight years.  We are looking forward to continue success as we march forward:  "Honoring the Fallen; Spoort the Troops; Thank the Veteran".