Lt. Mick Glancey dropped by Long Beach High School Thursday with a personal message for the 11th grade U.S. History students.
"I did not want to intrude on your class and take up a whole lot of your time, but I did want to come by and say thanks," Glancey said.
Glancey is a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer, based in Camp LeJeune, N.C. He returned from Afghanistan over the weekend.
"It's the real deal," Glancey told the students. "It's not fun and games all the time. We were fortunate all our marines came home, even though a few of them were injured."
Glancey's mission was dangerous. His duties included protecting an airfield, patrolling villages and searching for enemy fighters.
"We've been able to snag a bunch of them. We killed a bunch of them up in the caves, and that's where most of the fighting is at," Glancey said.
During those long, grueling weeks, Glancey received a letter and a surprise package from the Long Beach history students. The idea came from Glancey's niece, who is a student in the class. Since the students have been studying about the War in Afghanistan, she mentioned that her uncle was over there, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. So, the class decided to do something nice to lift his spirits.
"I knew that he needed care packages and he needed food, because the food he was eating was not any good," Nikki Collier said.
"I just sent candy. I sent a lot of stuff actually, so I hope they liked it," Portia Newman said.
Glancey said he was happy to get the gift.
"Considering we've been eating MRE's for awhile, I was pretty stoked, very happy about getting it," Glancey said.
To show is appreciation, Glancey presented the class with a Soviet map he found at an air terminal. He also handed out key chains and dog tags from the USS Bataan.
The students say the face-to-face meeting has left a lasting impression.
"I've gained more respect knowing and seeing more in-depth what they do for us everyday, and that there are still people out there fighting for us," Roy Pierson said.
"I think he'll always remember us as the U.S. History class that sent candy to Afghanistan," Portia Newman said.
Their teacher, Doug Bremenkamp, says his history class finds somebody in the military to adopt every year. Right now, the class is also adopting a Navy unit aboard the USS John Stennis.