When planning this years All32in17 Mission, We considered having my dad spend 12 straight days on the west coast to make warrior wishes come true in San Francisco (Thursday), Los Angeles (Sunday), San Diego (Thursday), Oakland (Sunday) & Phoenix (Monday). However, there was no way he would be able to sleep at the airport or bus station 12 straight nights & Hotel expenses would have cost $150+ per night!
Thankfully I was able to find airfare from LA to Chicago (after the Rams game) for $63.10. And then I found airfare from Chicago to San Diego for $46.30! Having said that, my dad had the opportunity to come home for a few days to catch up on sleep and with family before flying out to San Diego to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Chargers game!
My dad took off Wednesday morning & said If there’s one city he doesn’t mind going to a day early – especially weather wise – it is San Diego. They say it is always “75 and sunny” and today was closer to 80. There is no shortage of things to do either. From the world famous Zoo to the beaches of Coronado, San Diego is a beautiful place to visit! Here are some of our favorite memories from making Warrior Wishes come true in San Diego!
My dad met up with Army Sgt Jeffrey Pickard with his wife, Natasha, and Marines SSG Brandon Dodson, Jasmine Dodson & Kelly Randall at McGregor’s Ale House for lunch. McGregor’s Ale House believes in great food, a broad selection of craft beer and offering a comfortable place for friends and neighbors to come together. Since 1996, they have worked hard to ensure that San Diego locals and visitors alike feel at home. They certainly made sure the Warriors were taken care of & cant thank them enough for providing a delicious pregame meal and the perfect meeting spot before the game!
My dad had table all set for the Warriors complete with New Era Hats, Chive Shirts and letters from kids thanking them for their service. Over lunch, my dad got to know the Warriors and learned that Brandon had just retired last month with a ceremony at Walter Reed Medical Ctr in Bethesda MD.
Everyone took a trolley to the stadium, but unfortunately, the Bolt Pride tailgate, that we had planned to hang out with, was on the other side of stadium . Thankfully, my dad flagged down a golf cart for the warriors and he walked across the parking lot to A4 where our friend , Rafael Alvarez welcomed the Warriors with open arms.
They spent a little over an hour tailgating, eating and having a blast! it was great hospitality! The cart driver came back to the tailgate to pick up the Warriors for the game at about 4:45. Once outside the stadium, they snapped a few pics before heading inside.
The seats were incredible THANKS to the San Diego Chargers and linebacker Jerry Attaochu. Located right on the goal line where it looked as if the ball was going to basically land in your lap when receivers ran corner routes. The Chargers have a program where players donate unused tickets to charities – Chargers Tight End Antonio Gates helped us out last year.
The Chargers have been having a tough time of late. They consistently jump out to leads early, but have lost 3 of their first 4 games in the 4th quarter. Today the Chargers faced off with their division rivals, the Denver Broncos. The Chargers jumped out to their early lead again taking a 19-3 lead into the 4th quarter!
Denver scored one quick touchdown early in the 4th. Chargers fans began to get anxious especially when CJ Anderson scampered into the end zone for a second touchdown BUT a Broncos holding penalty took that 6 points off the board, and cost the Broncos any chance of finishing the comeback. The Chargers held on to beat the Broncos by the score of 21-13 and got a much needed 21-13 win to stay alive in the AFC West race. The warriors had a fantastic time and almost all of them left happy – Marine Kelly Randall is a Broncos fan…
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Linebacker Jerry Attaochu & the San Diego Chargers for providing tickets and an incredible experience! We would also like to thank New Era Cap for the Chargers caps, Bolt Pride for hosting everyone at your tailgate, The Chive for providing KCCO shirts, McGregors Ale House for the delicious meal and the kids from Clinton and Ranch View Schools for writing the Warriors letters!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Most importantly, we would like to thank Army Sgt Jeffrey Pickard & Marines SSG Brandon Dodson, Jasmine Dodson & Kelly Randall for their service and sacrifices to our country! It’s appreciated, hasn’t gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!!!
My dad plans to spend the night at the San Diego airport before catching a bus to LA tomorrow afternoon to catch a connecting $1 overnight megabus to San Francisco. He will be in Oakland on Sunday to make warrior wishes come true at the Raiders game! Stay tuned for more details!
MEET THE WARRIORS
MARINE SSG BRANDON DODSON
Staff Sergeant Brandon Dodson was born in Lemoore, California, on May 10, 1985. He enlisted into the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program August 2002 and graduated from Ramona High School, Ramona, California, in June of 2003. Staff Sergeant Dodson attended Recruit Training July 2003 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA.
Following completion of Recruit Training, Private First Class Dodson attended School of Infantry out of Camp Pendleton, California, where he learned the skills necessary to be a basic infantryman. Private First Class Dodson was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, and promoted to Lance Corporal. 27 May 2004, Lance Corporal Dodson conducted his first deployment in support for Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Rifleman/Saw Gunner, returning home 25 February 2005. One year later, Corporal Dodson acted as a Team Leader for Weapons Platoon, Assault Section, attaching to 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and touring Hawaii, Australia, Singapore, Dubai, Kuwait, and Thailand. He then gained further experience as a Squad Leader for a Mobile Assault Platoon, deploying to Al Qaim, Iraq, from March 2007 to November 2007. Corporal Dodson was promoted in country 1 June 2007 to the rank of Sergeant.
Shortly after returning from Iraq, Sergeant Dodson transferred in April of 2008 to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to further challenge himself as a Drill Instructor. Upon completion of Drill Instructor School, Sergeant Dodson served as Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor for Mike, STC, and India companies, assisting in the successful graduation of no less than 500 Marine Corps recruits.
Upon completion of his assignment as a Drill Instructor, Sergeant Dodson transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. He deployed from March 2012 to September 2012, to Sangin, Afghanistan, as a Squad Leader. Sergeant Dodson was promoted to Staff Sergeant 1 January 2013 and was put on Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) to the Tactical Training Exercise Group (TTECG) for six months, where he served as Platoon Sergeant for no less than 40 Marine role players and 500 civilian role players, working in support of the Integrated Training Exercise (ITX).
1 March 2014, Staff Sergeant Dodson deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, as Platoon Sergeant. While on patrol, Staff Sergeant Dodson became injured after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Following his injury, Staff Sergeant Dodson was transferred to Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and attached to Wounded Warrior Battalion, Walter Reed Detachment, where he medically retired on September 9, 2016. He currently resides in San Diego, CA .
His personal decorations include the Purple Heart, Navy Achievement medal, and Combat Action Ribbon as well as numerous unit and service awards.
MARINE WARRIOR JASMINE DODSON
I enlisted in the Marine Corps Jan 2001 as a Motor Transport Logistics Vehicle System Operator. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the 11th Marines. I deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and was part of the invasion of Iraq. I was honorably discharged as a Corporal in January 2005.
After being a civilian for almost 3years I got involuntary recalled back to active duty for 1year. I then was attached to CLB-1 out of Camp Pendleton. I returned to Iraq and was based out of Fallujah. Upon returning home I was honorably discharged for the second and final time in 2008.
I met my husband December 2009 and married October 2010. We had our son December 2012 while stationed at 29 Palms, CA. We now reside in San Diego, CA.
MARINE WARRIOR KELLY RANDALL
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714