Devil Dog for day: CLB-3, Make-a-Wish make a dream extra special

Devil Dog for day

Cpl Andres Bustos, a medium section line noncommissioned officer, with the Transport Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, shows Jared Kula the interior of an MK23 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement truck. The 13-year-old, who has ulcerative colitis, wished to come to Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor. Photo by Kristen Wong.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (May 16, 2014) - At the age of 13, "Corporal" Jared Kula reported for duty in front of Combat Logistics Battalion 3, May 14, 2014, to receive his very own set of cammies from LtCol Justin R. Reiman, the unit's commanding officer.

Kula and his family visited the islands May 10 through 16, 2014, for a myriad of special activities, including a luau, private surfing lessons, and the fulfillment of his wish — to visit Pearl Harbor. The Saegertown, Penn. resident, who has wanted to be a Marine like his mother for as long as he can remember, got his chance through coordination by Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters and Marine Corps Base Hawaii personnel.

During a Waffles and Wishes event hosted by the Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and Virginia chapter, on World Wish Day, April 29, Kula's family found out they would be going to Hawaii, according to the chapter's website news.

In addition to his mother, Kula has multiple relatives in the military. He learned of a fallen sailor from Dec. 7, 1941 who shares his last name, and wanted to see it on the wall at the USS Arizona Memorial, though it is not known whether they are related.

Although Kula's initial wish was to visit Pearl Harbor, his mother, now-Air Force SSgt Lori Scott, security forces, 171st Air Refueling Wing, told the foundation staff about her son's dream of being a Marine. In addition to Marine reservists from Truck Company, 25th Marine Regiment presenting him with an honorary "Marine for a Day" certificate in Pennsylvania, Make-A-Wish Hawaii staff made arrangements for Kula's visit to MCB Hawaii. Scott, who previously served in the Marine Corps for two years, called the events "completely overwhelming."

"This has made his whole trip," Scott said. "He wanted to see Pearl Harbor but he had no idea about this until we got (to the islands)."

Make-A-Wish Foundation America is an organization with multiple chapters worldwide that support children who have life-threatening illnesses by making one wish come true for them.

"It is great to see so many Marines come together to make such an unforgettable day for Jared," said James Donnelly, the director of development at Make-A-Wish Hawaii. "I was happy about the amount of people who were able to see the joy on Jared's face and share the power of a wish."

Kula was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis three years ago. Ulcerative colitis is a digestive condition in which the intestines are stricken with ulcers. People of all ages can be diagnosed with this disease, which has many side effects, including skin lesions and loss of appetite.

Although there is no cure, the negative effects of UC can be reduced through different treatment. Kula must undergo monthly infusions, avoid certain foods and take strong medication that his mother said people consider as intense as chemotherapy.

But his condition took a backseat so he could experience his dreams.

"(The trip)'s just been so fantastic for him, he's been on cloud nine," said Barbara Scott, Kula's grandmother.

Combat Logistics Battalion 3 welcomed its newest Marine with an early morning run and series of exercises, followed by a special formation where the commanding officer welcomed Kula. Kula's day was filled with activities, including, but not limited to, touring facilities, operating a crane, meeting a military working dog at the Provost Marshal's Office, visiting the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trailer and watching an amphibious assault vehicle demonstration.

On a scale from one to 10, Kula gave the day a "20." He said the best part of the day was meeting the Marines.

"It's an honor to be a part of this," said SSgt Jonathan D. Feliz, S-3 training chief for Headquarters and Services Company at CLB-3. "There (are) always people out there (who) are less fortunate. Just to be able to give back and partake (in a) kid's wish means a lot to me and especially to the Marines involved today."

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.