Subject: A TRUE AMERICAN MOM
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON , Calif. (
March 2, 2006)
Karla Comfort received a lot of looks and even some salutes from
people when she drove from Benton, Ark., to Camp Pendleton, Calif.,
in her newly- painted, custom Hummer H3 March 2. The vehicle is
adorned with the likeness of her son, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. John
M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion,
7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division who where all killed
by the same improvised explosive device blast in Fallujah, Iraq,
For Comfort, having the vehicle air
brushed with the image of the 10 Marines was a way to pay homage
to her hero and his fellow comrades who fell on Iraq's urban batt
lefield. "I wanted to let people know (Marines) are doing their
jobs honorably, and some of them die," said the 39-year-old
from Portland, Ore. "I don't want people to forget the sacrifices
that my son and the other Marines made."
Leading up to her son's death, Comfort
had received several letters from him prior to his return. He had
been deployed for five months, and Comfort "worried everyday
he was gone until she got the letters and found out the date he
was coming home," she said. Marines knocked on the front door
of her home in Farmington, Mich., at 3 a.m. with the dreadful news.
"I let my guard down when I found out he was coming home,"
she said. "There are times that I still cannot believe it happened.
It's very hard to deal with."
Comfort came up with the idea for the rolling memorial when she
and her two other sons attended John's funeral in Portland , Ore.
"I saw a Vietnam (War) memorial on a car, and I said to my
son Josh, 'we should do something like that for John,'" she
recalled. "He loved Hummers."
She purchased the vehicle in January
and immediately took it to Airbrush Guy & Co. in Benton , Ark.
, where artist Robert Powell went to work on changing the plain,
black vehicle into a decorative, mobile, art piece. "I only
had the vehicle for two days before we took it in," she joked.
Two hundred and fifty man-hours later, Powell had completed the
vehicle. The custom job would have cost $25,000. Out of respect
for Comfort's loss and the sacrifices the Marines made, Airbrush
Guy & Co. did it for free. Comfort only had to purchase the
paint, which cost $3,000.
"I love it," she said. "I'm
really impressed with it, and I think John would be happy with the
vehicle. He would have a big smile on his face because he loved
Hummers." Comfort gave Powell basic instructions on what to
include in the paint job. But in addition to the image of her son
in Dress Blues and the faces of the nine other Marines, there were
several surprises. "He put a lot more on than I expected,"
she said. "I think my favorite part is the heaven scene."
On the left side of the vehicle, a
detail of Marines are depicted carrying their fallen comrades through
the clouds to their final resting place. The American flag drapes
across the hood, the words, "Semper Fi" crown the front
windshield and the spare tire cover carries the same Eagle Globe
and Anchor design that her son had tattooed on his back. "All
the support I have been getting is wonderful," she said.
Comfort decided to move back to her
hometown of Portland, and making the cross-country trip from Arkansas
was a way for her to share her son's story. It's also her way of
coping with the loss. "Along the way I got nothing but positive
feedback from people," she said. "What got to me was when
people would salute the guys (Marines). It's hard to look at his
picture. I still cry and try to get used to the idea, but it's hard
to grasp the idea that he's really gone."
Support America and Support the Troops. Let us NOT forget......