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Bolts Show Appreciation for Service Members With 'Surreal' Visit to Camp Pendleton


Alohi Gilman tried to meet and mingle with as many military members and their families as possible Tuesday afternoon at Camp Pendleton.

But the Chargers safety made it a point to seek out First Lieutenant Jawaun Stanley, who was actually Gilman's roommate at the Naval Academy Prepatory School (NAPS) nearly a decade ago.

The two met at NAPS and remained close as Gilman thrived at Navy and transferred to Notre Dame before eventually being a 2020 sixth-round pick by the Chargers.

"He's always been grinding on the field and then off the field in academics as well," Stanley said. "I've always supported him and been in his corner. I look up to that man."

Stanley later added: "This guy has a great heart and he's a leader. To see him out here in his element that he's worked so hard to get and persevere, it's inspiring."


Gilman said he got a little emotional when he was able to reconnect with Stanley, who has been an aviation maintenance officer on the base for the past three years.

"I went through a lot of experiences when I was there … when you look back at it, you have a greater appreciation for it," Gilman said of his time at NAPS with Stanley. "I was a little more emotional when I saw my roommate from bootcamp. He was with me when my head was shaved. He was with me going through hard stuff together."

Gilman added: "We go way back. That's my brother. Went through hell and back with him."

The reunion between Gilman and Stanley was one of many highlights Tuesday as the Bolts visited the military base.

Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed a packed house of thousands once the team arrived. Harbaugh emptied the full stands by inviting everyone to watch an hourlong walk-through near the sideline.

"We are blown away," Harbaugh said. "It's our incredible pleasure, it really is, to honor your honor, your commitment, your courage. You are heroes to us."

Colonel Charles Dudik, who is currently serving as the base's Chief of Staff, said it was "surreal" to have the Bolts in attendance.


The Chargers worked on special teams as well as offense, defense and full-team reps in the walk-through before spending the next hour-plus signing autographs and mingling with service members and their children.

The event was especially meaningful for Chargers defensive lineman Morgan Fox, who grew up on various military bases. Fox's father, Joe, is a United States Army veteran.

"100 percent. Whenever there was an event on base when I was a kid, we'd always go," Fox said. "It kind of hit home for me that at one point I was one these kids and the son of a solider. It definitely meant a lot to be here."

Fox has been the Chargers nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA the past two years.

Asante Samuel, Jr. echoed Fox's sentiments:

"It's great to see the energy, the environment," Samuel said. "I didn't know what to expect but this is a vibe and I hope we keep this going."


The Chargers held their first of three mandatory minicamp practices Tuesday morning at Hoag Performance Center in a session that was defined by the defense.

But the resounding highlight of the day was the trip to Camp Pendleton.

It was a visit that will last a lifetime for all involved, especially Gilman and Stanley.

"I'm a Chargers fan," Stanley said. "But I'm also an Alohi Gilman fan. Anywhere he goes, I'm 100 percent by him.

"This is a great thing for our community," Stanley added about the Bolts visit. "You love to see the military involvement … to have [the Chargers] take the time and come down here, it's so worthwhile and means a lot to the base."

The Chargers held a special practice session for military families on the first day of mini-camp 2024 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California

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