[I received this email  Sun Jul 23 2006]

Mr. Riojas,    

I am writing in response to your speculation about one of our brothers, "Justin".  For your information, Justin Legg is a graduate of Class 234(with very little research you will see him on Discovery Channel), was my boat crew leader, and is highly respected as an officer, seasoned operator, and as a fellow Team Guy.  Please give him and the rest of us (his brothers/ fellow active duty SEALs) the courtesy and remove this negative statement from your website. 

 Lord knows Justin has a hard enough fight without having to deal with something like this.    V/R,    MA1(SEAL)Travis Lively/ Class 234  

Doc Riojas' note:  Our sincerest apologies for the grave error.  All negative statements have been removed.  FYI:   The keepers of the SEAL Archieves did not have his full name, they were not able to find his name on the archieves.  Thank you Travis , for your email and correcting our information.  We hope Justin has found a donor and is on his way to total remission of the Leukemia.  

Family, Navy team up to find marrow donor
Navy SEAL from Spotswood was recently diagnosed with leukemia
SPOTSWOOD - A young man who fought for his country is now battling for his life.

And on July 15, local residents will have the opportunity to help him do just that.

Justin, whose last name is not being disclosed at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, is a Navy SEAL and former Spotswood resident who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The Navy is turning to Justin's hometown community to help him find a bone marrow stem cell donor who could save his life.

Justin is fairly well-known in the area. At Spotswood High School, he was president of his class, salutatorian and an accomplished athlete, competing in track, football and wrestling. Justin was captain of the wrestling team and became the first wrestler from Spotswood to reach the second round of the New Jersey State Wrestling Tournament. He then became a state district champion at 160 pounds.

After high school, Justin attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and became a Navy SEAL in 2002. He was deployed twice and served a seven-month combat tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom, before returning to spend the past two years assigned to a special boat team in Mississippi.

Now 27 and recently married, Justin was diagnosed June 2 with acute lymphocyte leukemia, a fast-growing cancer that destroys the platelets and red and white blood cells. Without appropriate treatment, patients often die within months of the onset of the illness. Chemotherapy and radiation are usually the first line of defense.

Unfortunately, like many adults with this disease, Justin's treatment is complicated by the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome. As a result, his best chance of survival lies in a bone marrow stem cell transplant.

"Often, siblings are matches for transplants, but neither myself nor my sister are a match," said Justin's sister, Jodi Pinedo of East Windsor. "The odds of finding an unrelated match are one in 25,000."

That is why in addition to other donor searches conducted by the Navy SEALs, the family and the Navy are now reaching out locally for help.

On Saturday, July 15, there will be a one-day donor search sponsored by the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program at Spotswood High School, 105 Summerhill Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Being tested is simple and painless," Pinedo noted. "It's just a swab to the inside of the cheek. If you're a match, they will call you."

Those who volunteer will be registered with the Defense Department's marrow donor program and may also be contacted about other patients if there is a match.

Eddy Medina, senior recruiter for the donor program, said volunteers need to be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 60, but "the guidelines for donating marrow are more liberal than those for donating blood. People should come in and have the sample done. If they are a match, they will receive a medical exam to ensure they are healthy enough to donate."

According to Medina, sometimes doctors decide patients who are ill only need stem cells. In that case, the donation process is similar to donating blood. Blood is taken from one arm, the stem cells are removed, and the rest of the blood goes back in the other arm. Other times, marrow is taken from the hip of the donor while they are under general anesthesia.

"If anyone has questions about the donation process or whether or not they are a good candidate to be a donor, they can ask me on Saturday," Medina said. "I will be at the drive. Prior to that, people can call me at (800) 627-7693, ext. 223, with any concerns."

According to his father, Charles, Justin decided to be come a Navy SEAL as early as the seventh grade.

"He just came up with it on his own. I didn't push him in that direction. He has just always been very determined and goal oriented."

Justin was one of 83 applicants from a pool of 1,500 who were accepted for initial SEAL training, and one of only 32 who successfully completed the program.

At present, he is being treated at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., with his father and mother, Diane, and Justin's wife, Suzanne, often by his side.

His sister said Justin is in good spirits.

"When he was told that there was only a 30 percent chance of recovery, he replied, 'That's good. There was only a 10 percent chance of me becoming a SEAL,' " Pinedo said.

For more information about the donor drive on Saturday, readers can call Pinedo at (609) 918-0905. More information about being a marrow donor is available on the Web site www.dodmarrow.org. For information about acute lymphocyte leukemia, visit www.leukemia-lymphoma.org.

                     Navy SEAL  LT. Justin


          Donor match found for local Navy Seal

Doc Riojas note:  "Praise the Lord!"

SPOTSWOOD - A young Navy Seal may as well have won the lottery.

Not the million-dollar one ... the bone marrow lottery.

In June, Justin, a Spotswood native whose last name is being withheld at the request of the U.S. Navy, was diagnosed with a fast-growing cancer called acute lymphocyte leukemia. Many people die within months of being diagnosed with the disease.

Justin's best chance of survival was a bone marrow stem-cell transplant. Usually, this can be provided by a family member, but neither one of his siblings was a match, and Justin and his family were left hoping for a miracle. The odds were one in 25,000 that a stranger could provide the bone marrow transplant that Justin needed.

Last week, he learned that he had not only found one match, but two others were available as backups.

"I hit the bone marrow lotto jackpot," Justin wrote in an e-mail posted on the Spotswood borough Web site.

Justin, 27, is well known in town. He was president and salutatorian of his high school class, and an accomplished athlete in track, football and wrestling, for which he was team captain. He became a Navy Seal in 2002 and served a seven-month combat tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When people learned of his situation, there was a great outpouring of support. In July, a one-day donor search was held at Spotswood High School, the first of several held by the Navy around the country. Some 1,300 people showed up to register as a donor in Spotswood alone. Justin sent the e-mail to his hometown Web site to thank everyone for their help and support.

But it was not just his friends and family that were concerned about Justin.

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times best-selling author who has written two series of popular novels about the Navy Seals, featured Justin's story on her Web site. She encouraged fans to have bone marrow drives, and provided a link to a blog called "I'm a swabbie" that lists the locations of different drives. The name of the blog is a play on words. The term swabbie is a slang expression for a sailor; the way individuals are tested to be a bone marrow donor is through a swab to the inside of the cheek.

Jan Albertie, of Los Banos, Calif., is one of Brockman's fans. Albertie, a personnel manager for a software consulting company and the wife of an ex-Navy man, has never met Justin.

"When I heard that there was a Navy SEAL in trouble, I knew I had to do something to help," she said.

She decided to have her first drive at the Stanford vs. Navy football game in San Jose.

She was able to register 33 donors and has six more drives scheduled. She has been working with the C.W Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program.

"They make it easy. All I have to do is have everyone give a swab, document it and send it back to them for processing," Albertie said.

Eddy Medina, senior recruiter for that program, said he thinks it's wonderful when someone like Justin is able to find a match, but it's important to continue having drives because so many other people can be helped. He noted that volunteers need to be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 60.

Justin still has a long medical ordeal ahead of him. He will be undergoing radiation treatment, chemotherapy and almost a full month of quarantine as his immune system recovers. He and his wife, Suzanne, will be moving from Missisisppi to Seattle.

Unfortunately, his illness is not the first hardship these newlyweds have faced in the past year. Justin and Suzanne lost all their belongings when their home was hit by Katrina last September. They had just finished renovations and had moved back into their home when Justin was diagnosed.

An organization called Soldiers Angels has set up a fund for Justin and his family to help defray expenses not covered by the Navy. Its Web site is www.soldiersangels.


For more information about the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor programs, go to www.dodmarrow.

com. Anyone wanting to read Justin's posting, can visit Spotswood's site at www.spotswoodboro.com.