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It's not about the war, or politics: Chico couple off to bootcamp

Mario Sagastume was an infantry Marine who served in Vietnam 40 years ago. He and his wife, Nanette Sagastume, have a son who served as an infantry Marine in Iraq in 2004.

http://www.chicoer.com/lifestyle/ci_6617141

By MARY NUGENT - Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/14/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

Father and son both served in Marines 2/1, Fox Company, Third Platoon. Son Daniel Sagastume of Chico, wanted to be in the same battalion, company and platoon that his father had.

Though Mario and Daniel, 25, are no longer in the Marines, the military institution is still important to Mario, a retired accountant and business owner, and Nanette, a retired nurse practitioner.

The couple will participate in Team Marine Parents' Bootcamp Challenge Oct. 6 in San Diego at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. The fundraiser involves individuals and teams doing athletic activities similar to what young people go through in Boot Camp. Similar — but more good-natured and not nearly as demanding.

Teammarineparents.com describes the event as "A fun and furious 3-mile course featuring obstacles used only by Marine recruits at the Marine Recruit Depot."

"There will be running, crawling over hay bales and cargo netting, hurdles and trenches in the mud. And there will be drill instructors along the way," said Nanette.

Team Marine Parents promotes supporting the troops and accepts donations to sustain three programs that specifically support troops.

"This project is not about the war, it's not about politics. This is about doing something for those who have offered their lives to protect us," she said.

The Sagastumes hope to raise $1,000 for the Bootcamp Challenge. "We always look for ways to do something for the troops. The challenge seems like a good idea and a fun thing to do," said Mario, who has attended reunions of Vietnam War veterans in San Diego, the Midwest and Washington, D.C.

Nanette said although she runs, she has a few concerns about the challenge. "I'm worried about push-ups since I have little upper body strength. I have a personal trainer and we're making up a program, things I can work on ... I plan to do girlie push-ups."

She said those who participate in the challenge are asked to do so in memory of, or in honor of, a Marine. Mario is participating in memory of Marines from the Vietnam era: Gunnery Sgt. Jim LaChance and 1st Lt. Jim Little.

Nanette is participating in honor of her husband and son, and in memory of six Marines from her son's platoon killed in Iraq: Lance Cpl. Michael Allred, Pvt. David Burridge, Lance Cpl. Quinn Keith, Cpl. Joseph McCarthy, Cpl. Mick Nygard-Bekowsky and Lance Cpl. Lamont Wilson.

She wears a bracelet in memory of those Marines. "I was so affected by that tragedy — perhaps I felt emotionally connected to the Marines' families because I too waited all day to see if my Marine was among those killed in action that morning — that I truly grieved intensely for months."

Bootcamp participants will wear T-shirts with the names of the Marines they are honoring or remembering.

Besides the Bootcamp Challenge in San Diego, Team Marine Parents also sponsors a marathon in October in Washington, D.C.

Team Marine Parents is a project of Marineparents.com, a Web site that provides information and communication for families of Marines.

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How to help

Nanette and Mario Sagastume are accepting donations for their participation Oct. 6 in the Bootcamp Challenge at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

The couple hope to raise $1,000, which will specifically go toward a care package project for deployed troops.

Information can be obtained at www.teammarineparents.com.