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The Official Site of the New York Islanders

Deployed fan shares story

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have fans that span the globe. Over the holiday, 21-year-old Rob Gartner, a native of Northport, NY and a Lance Corporal of the United States Marine Corps, reached out to the franchise. Currently serving our country in Afghanistan, LCpl Gartner shared a unique picture of himself and his friends.

“We are surrounding the unmanned Aerial Vehicle of which my Unit (VMU-1) uses to support the ground units,” LCpl Gartner wrote in an email.

From left to right: Sergeant Nik Isoldi from Texas, Lance Corporal Rob Gartner from Northport NY, Corporal Shawn Barton from New Hampshire, Sergeant Curtis Bailey from Arizona, Jacob Astorian from California, Corporal Mike Santillanez from California, Corporal Aaron Coffman from Ohio, Corporal Mike Senay from Massachusetts, and Lance Corporal Shane Miller from Ohio.

Being 7,000 miles from home during the holidays, Gartner said Christmas was as good as he could make it without his family. He is a huge Islanders fan and shares that passion with his family. His family - mother, Joan; father, Robert; and three sisters, Jaclyn, Liz and Monica - still attend Islanders games often.

“I have been an Islanders fan since I can remember,” Gartner wrote. “I joined the Marine Corps in August 2008 and I am stationed in Twentynine Palms, California. I am currently on my second deployment to Afghanistan.”

When he comes home to Long Island, Gartner has one special tradition.

“Every time I come home, I bring my little sister Monica to an Islanders game,” Gartner wrote. “As most Islanders fans, I don’t get along with Rangers fans during the hockey season.”

Gartner even went to a game to support the Islanders on the West Coast.

“When I returned from my first deployment, my goal was to attend the first Islanders game I could on the West Coast, which was against the Anaheim Ducks,” Gartner wrote.

He attended that game against the Ducks when they celebrated Veterans Day in November of 2010.
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