Several hundred well-wishers cheered and waved banners and flags yesterday as three Pleasanton Marines came home from Iraq.
The Marines were escorted into Pleasanton by a motorcycle honor team provided by the Warriors' Watch Riders (WWR), the official honor escort for all military welcome home events sponsored by the Pleasanton Military Families organization. The Riders group is led by Fred (aka Spike) Schau, state coordinator of WWR's Northern California chapter.
With a fire truck and Pleasanton police motorcyclists in the lead, the three Marines waved back to the crowds from a Mustang convertible, with WWR bikers in front and behind them, as they drove on Bernal Avenue from I-680 to Main Street, and then west on St. Mary, Division, Hopyard and West Las Positas to the home on Heath Court of returning Marine Lance Cpl. Ronnie Silva, son of Denise and Bob Silva, who were waiting to greet him.
With Silva were fellow Marines: Cpl. John Minerva, son of Kathy and Don Minerva, and Cpl. Jon Zinke-Zagarella, whose grandmother Eulailah was also at the Silva home to greet him.
As the Marines arrived in Heath Court where an estimated 150 were waiting, special bagpipe music was provided by Donna Willy, whose own son Spc. Kester Willy, returned home Saturday.
Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) and his wife Mary, whose home is only a few blocks away, also were at Heath Court for the welcome home ceremonies, along with City Councilman Jerry Thorne. Representatives of various military organizations also joined in the celebration.
Although military homecomings are common in Pleasanton, this was the first time three soldiers have returned from Iraq at one time for a joint celebration.