Back and forth writing and getting stores I assumed from the outward appearance from Nakoa that he was just another man in the area fishing. As I completed speaking to the the other vets they asked had I spoke to Nakoa. I said him, pointing at Nakoa! They responded yes!! I said he’s homeless? Their response was yes and he went in around 9/11. Tattooed on the back of his right leg was a 9/11 tattoo “Never Forget”. I assumed because like other states where it’s cold and individuals are layered in smothered dirty clothes that he wasn’t. Rather i thought this is sunny Florida so one doesn’t have to dress in layers.
So we began our chat and he went on to say he was in basic training when the towers were hit and their training all shifted to have even more meaningful impact to him and his brothers. Serving 9 yrs of service as a Marine Grunt, getting out in 2010 he said deployments beat his body, seeing deaths from the initial push, the lack of early on communications back home played on his mental well being. He said his therapy is to fish and he sleeps in a mutual cove that others share.He said that living in Florida is similar to his hometown of Hawaii in terms of good weather so he told me living outside isn’t to bad. Nakoa explained to me that men and women of of the armed forces should have better programs for them when vets get out. He said around the time he got out hiring vets the stigma was vets were crazy because you went to war. He said that’s that hardest thing to swallow knowing that you serve and you come home to people who turn their noses up to you.