The First Tee veterans give back

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By Carol S. Petrea
CDR, USN (Ret.)
On Independence Day, we remembered those who have served our nation to keep the freedom.
We have joined forces with The First Tee of Brunswick County. Why? For a number of reasons. We are still serving and volunteering our time, talents and energy to an organization that builds on character development we can use for a lifetime through the game of golf. What a wonderful concept: having fun and learning life skills our children in Brunswick County can take and build on.
We came together at The First Tee at Cinghiale Creek in Shallotte. We have a large number of coaches and volunteers who are veterans and retired U.S. military members who have served our country from Korea to the present conflict in Afghanistan. We all served honorably and now want to give back and share with our community. We serve as coaches for school day programs, after-school/Saturday programs or we coach during the summer camps.
What do we all have in common? We served our country in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard.
This past March I observed two fellow coaches greeting each other, coach Joe Kinzer, retired Lt. Gen. U.S. Army, to coach Ed Kay, a Vietnam veteran, and this was their greeting:
“Hello, Ed. Rakkasan.”
“Hello, Joe. Rakkasan.”
The greetings were followed by a salute and a handshake.
The greeting they exchange is rakkasan, a Japanese word. Loosely translated, it means umbrella from the sky, signifying parachutes. The Japanese used it while the 187th Airborne Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division was stationed in Japan after WWII. When the Japanese saw the parachutes open, they would point to them and say, “Rakkasan.” The name stuck and to this day it is still used to identify the 187th Airborne Regiment as the rakkasans.
The 187the Airborne Infantry Regiment is one of the most highly decorated units in the U.S. Army and has been part of every major conflict since WWII.
Ed Kay was with the rakkasans in Vietnam and Lt. Gen. Joe Kinzer commanded the regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Coach Ed is on our public relations team is part of our school day programs. Coach Joe is on our mowing team and part of school day programs. God Bless our Armed Forces and all our coaches who give of their time, talent and energy to the First Tee of Brunswick County.

Carol S. Petrea is the chairwoman of The Carol S. Petrea Youth Golf Foundation.

Summer tour golf
Results June 25 at Farmstead Golf Club. Girls’ division: Cameryn Smith, 85. Middle school boys (nine holes): Nick Caison 44, Tucker Vaughn 47, Jayla Rogers 50. High school boys: Greg Hensley 74, Landon Patterson 79, Drew Boyer 81.