Montes and Frazier met when he arrived in the intensive care unit of the Bethesda hospital. She nursed him there and agreed to accompany him to the operating room for surgery shortly after he arrived.
"Those beautiful blue eyes just got to me," she said. "He couldn't talk, but his eyes said it all for me. I stayed with him all that first night. I knew he didn't want to be alone. I went to the OR with him the next day. I knew right away he was someone special."
Frazier is facing more months of recovery. He hopes to leave the hospital early next year, maybe with a service dog. He has no plans to leave the Marines.
"After rehab, I think I will be fit for some kind of duty," he said.
Montes is looking forward to showing off her Marine to her family. They were to fly 813 nautical miles in about two hours and 20 minutes on a Citation 3 jet, the Greenbergs' company plane. Fuel cost is estimated to be about $6,000; the Greenbergs pick up that cost. Although both Greenbergs are licensed pilots, they left the flying to another and socialized with their guests.
"We are going to get you to the sunshine," Stephanie Greenberg promised them.
The two couples shared the nine comfortable seats with the two Dalmatians, both trained therapy dogs who have logged nearly as many flight hours as their owners.
"We brought cupcakes," Frazier said to his hosts.
"We are in trouble," said Stephanie Greenberg. "The dogs love cupcakes."
Veterans Airlift Command has already arranged for a return trip for Frazier and Montes to Maryland early next month on another plane, but the Greenbergs said they would remain on standby, if needed.
"You get to the point in your life when you think that you better start doing some good things," said Erwin Greenberg, a shopping center developer. "It doesn't get better than this."