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Andrew Joins the Military

Andrew gets a medal Staff Sgt. Angel Gallardo

“ Hundreds of military personnel were all united in that day’s mission – bringing joy to one courageous kid. ”

Andrew often wears camouflage idolizing the courageous men and women who serve in the armed forces. A six-year-old diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the strength of these dedicated people is an inspiration while living with the challenges of this critical illness.

The Make-A-Wish® team knew they had to grant this boy’s wish to help him thrive through his treatments. They contacted all four branches of the U.S. military, active, Reserve & National Guard, who worked together to give Andrew an incredible day among their ranks.

When Andrew and his family report to March Air Reserve Base - only 30 minutes away from their home - the Air Force personnel make Andrew feel like a part of the crew. They give him a flight suit, helmet and helmet bag. They even pin aviator’s wings onto his uniform, so he’s ready to aim high.

They visit the Falcons, who keep the runway cleared of smaller birds. Then they take a tour of a C-17 transport plane, which was stopping at March on a training mission from Travis Air Force Base.

Next up, the Few, the Proud: the Marines. Andrew meets a detachment of Marines bound for Camp Pendleton in Southern California. The Marines give Andrew a uniform fitted just for him and make him honorary Sergeant Major. This stirs jokes among the Marines saying Andrew’s only been there for five minutes, but has more ranks than they’d received in 10 years. 

The Army and Navy are eager to meet Andrew as well. One long-serving soldier is so pleased to meet the wish kid that he gives Andrew a collection of coins and medals he collected over nearly 40 years.

The Navy also decks Andrew in uniform and lets him sit in the captain’s chair of a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Then the Navy Sea Cadets show off their “armory” and let Andrew target practice their computerized shooting range.

“He was just having fun,” said his mom, Diane, about a boy who deserved a joyful break away from the worry of his treatments.

Andrew even gets to see all the military hardware up-close. He sees everything from a supersonic F-16 fighter to a huge KC-135 airborne tanker. He climbs inside and loves taking a look around. Though he can’t go in, the unmanned Predator also fascinates Andrew.

Andrew hosts show him inside fire trucks, military police cars and a super cool Humvee. But then it’s time to return to civilian life. 

Hundreds of military personnel took part in Andrew’s wish. And no matter what uniform they wore, they were all united in that day’s mission – bringing joy to one courageous kid. Andrew will always remember the dedicated people he met that day.

It was nice. I didn’t think they’d do that much for him. Then I cried! ”

— Andrew's mom

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What a sweet little boy, such a little fighter. If I could, I would give him a hug and the coins I have recieved from different places around the world. Keep fighting little warrior!

July 20, 2009 - 10:55 PM


It's always the simplest gestures that can really make someones day.

December 08, 2009 - 11:59 AM


May GOD continue to Bless Andrew and his family in all that they do. Keep the Faith. There really are a lot of good people in this world.

August 05, 2010 - 10:42 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM


This is so amazing. This foundation does incredible things for kids. I am simply blown away by what they go through and put up with. This day is so special for them, and I just love watching them have their wish come true.

May 08, 2013 - 7:56 PM


That was so inspiring for Andrew. He's a lovely little boy. God Bless him always.

September 15, 2013 - 5:27 AM

Brittney and Chad

You are so brave and strong!!

November 15, 2013 - 10:01 PM


As a family member to quite a few active military members, this wish touched my heart. Make-A-Wish has a far reaching impact on not only the incredibly brave children faced with a very difficult reality, but also on those they ask to participate in granting wishes to help those children escape that reality for a little while. The good that this organization spreads in the world really has no end and will have my support for as long as it is needed.

February 16, 2014 - 7:11 PM


We had so much fun this day. I was amazed and touched by all the military personnel who were involved and made Andrew's day so unforgettable!!! I love our military personnel, but what they did was over and beyond! Amazing wish for and amazing child...

March 05, 2014 - 11:21 PM

alisss m.

he is such a sweet boy I made a Make-A-Wish but being wheelchair bound went to Disney World I had fun but I cant image how much fun he had

November 10, 2014 - 1:24 PM


This is so cute i love when kids smile <3 this little boy is a warrior such a fighter

November 17, 2014 - 5:30 PM

Michael A. W. Jr.

Wow, this story hits home due to the fact both my father and I are in the military. It shows you that there are kids fighting for their lives and all they want to do is what very few in our country are willing to take oath and commit to. What an awesome and brave young boy. May God continue to bless you Andrew.

December 20, 2014 - 9:20 AM


Im the mom of four boys that md it was nice what they did for us my sons were so happy to see many things there thank you from the vertigan family 😄😂

January 27, 2015 - 4:06 PM


This is absolutely amazing! It's really nice to see the impact of the wish being granted for each kid and it's amazing that so many people can help make them come true! This little boy is truly an inspiration!

July 13, 2015 - 8:18 PM

Jacob L.

You are very inspirational to all of us for standing up to your disease and fighting it. Semper Fi, Andrew, follow your dreams.

July 15, 2015 - 1:21 PM

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