OCHS graduate visits Canby school, answers kids questions

by: PHOTO BY: RAY HUGHEY - Sgt. David Lancaster, an Oregon City High School graduate and a squad leader with the 2nd Battalion ,7th Marines, visits Eccles Elementary School in Canby.Sgt. David Lancaster traveled a long way to say thank you.

His journey took him from Afghanistan to a classroom at Eccles Elementary School. He came to thank the Canby school students while he was visiting his Oregon City hometown last month.

Fourth-graders in classes taught by Elizabeth Smidt and Kathryn Huserik sent Lancaster and the members of his U.S. Marines unit in Afghanistan cards and letters in a care package from the West Linn Police Department where Lancaster's father, Vic, is a captain.

Sgt. Lancaster is a squad leader with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The Marines just returned from duty in the Afghan city of Sangin. They had been there since August.

Lancaster showed up at the school wearing his class D dress blues — red-striped blue trousers, a white hat or cover and a short-sleeve khaki shirt, his sergeant E-5 chevrons on the right arm.

One of the gifts from the Eccles kids was an 8-by-11-foot American flag that they drew and painted. On the back, they all signed their names.

The flag was a big hit with the Marines, Lancaster told the students. They hung it in their living quarters.

The students wanted to know what he did in Afghanistan and what it was like.

Lancaster told them they weren’t seeing much action, and that the bad guys now know to avoid the Marines.

When asked by the students which ribbon he was wearing on his chest was his favorite, Lancaster replied: the Combat Action Ribbon. It is awarded to those who have actively participated in ground or surface combat.

Lancaster graduated from Oregon City High School in 2006 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps the same year.

When the students asked him which one of their letters he read, he replied: "All of them. Every one."

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