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Marines Tag Toddler Waiting for Heart Transplant as Fellow Fighter

June 05, 1993

ORANGE — Local Marines gave a Hawaiian couple personalized identity tags for their critically ill 2-year-old son who awaits a heart transplant.

Seven Marines from a Tustin-based helicopter squadron donned their formal uniforms Friday and gave the tags and a stuffed animal to Jason and Darlene Pacheco.

The ceremony took place at Children's Hospital of Orange County, where the couple's son, Jason Jennette, is hooked up to life-support equipment until a donor can be found.

"We just wanted him to know that we think he is a fighter, just like a Marine," said Cpl. David London, a member of Helicopter Squadron MAG16S4.

Jason came to the hospital late Sunday after an emergency flight from Hawaii aboard a Coast Guard C-130 transport plane. Because of the mammoth life-support system, he was unable to be transported by commercial aircraft.

Jason, who lives in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, was born with a dime-sized hole between two heart chambers that surgeons in Hawaii were unable to repair.

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