May 31, 2010
Marines Honor Fallen Brothers in Afghanistan
On this Memorial Day, we give a special time to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We do this each day and will never forget but today is special as we are joined by millions of others. In the accompanying story, see how Marines in Afghanistan are remembering and honoring their fallen brothers . ~ Wild Thing
A portrait of Lance Cpl. Timothy J. Poole is displayed at the entrance to Patrol Base Poole, named in his honor.
Story by Sgt. Brian Tuthill
NAWA, Helmand Province, Afghanistan - Since their deployment to Afghanistan began in November 2009, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment have conducted counterinsurgency operations from dozens of positions throughout th Nawa District.
They have lived at these small camps and traveled on roads named by their predecessors, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, after their push into the area during Operation Khanjar last summer.
As new positions were erected and new roads established over the past few months, the Marines of 1/3 took the opportunity to name these locations for their five brothers killed during the deployment.
Those five Marines are the honored namesakes of Range Juarez, Patrol Base Swenson, Patrol Base Meinert, Route Pier and Patrol Base Poole.
Marines of Charlie Company, 1/3, also named Combat Outpost Reilly near Marjah during Operation Moshtarak in February, before another battalion took over that area. That base is named for Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Reilly, Jr., the only Marine from 1/3 killed in action during the battalion's previous deployment to Karmah, Iraq.
On May 14, 2010, Marines of Headquarters and Service Company, 1/3, delivered a concrete security barrier to a small-arms rifle range just outside of Forward Operating Base Geronimo. One side is painted red with yellow letters, boldly identifying Range Juarez. Cpl. Mark D. Juarez, who served with 1/3 as an armorer, was the first Marine killed during the deployment in January. Although the range has been in use since last year, Marines said it was fitting that it was renamed for a Marine whose specialty was repairing weapons.
Patrol Base Swenson is named for Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson, a Marine from Weapons Company, who was killed in April. Patrol Base Swenson has been designated as a northern hub for Afghan national army and police forces in Nawa. A new batch of ANP recruits are expected to arrive there in a few weeks after their training.
In the northern area of 1/3's area of responsibility is Patrol Base Meinert, named for Lance Cpl. Jacob A. "Slim" Meinert, a fire team leader with Bravo Company killed in January. The post was erected, April 15, and opened by Meinert's squad.
That same squad lost another Marine not long after Meinert was killed, Lance Cpl. Noah M. Pier, and they recently established a new gravel-paved road near OP Meinert and named it Route Pier. The new road allows Marines, Afghan national security forces and local citizens to travel the area more easily.
Large photos of Meinert and Pier are displayed at the entrance to OP Meinert as a memorial to the two Marines.
"I think naming these bases is great way for us to honor our fallen brothers," said Sgt. Steven J. Habon, who was Pier and Meinert's squad leader, with 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1/3. "It really improves morale and makes us proud to serve at a place named for one of our guys."
"Naming these bases lets people know what we left behind here in Afghanistan. These Marines will be remembered," said Habon, 25, from San Jose, Calif. "It's a way for future Marines to know about those who were there before."
In March, Patrol Base Poole was opened in Bravo Company's kinetic western area, and Marines in that area have frequently been engaged in firefights with insurgents. Lance Cpl. Timothy J. Poole, a Bravo Company Marine from 2nd Platoon, was killed in January and Marines from his platoon have held that position since it was established. His photo is also dominantly displayed at the entrance to that patrol base.
"It's good to see his photo up there. Sometimes when I walk by it, I'll stop and say ''what's up?' and offer him a cigarette." said Lance Cpl. Nathan W. Klopp, a fire team leader from Poole's squad and one of his close friends who currently operates from PB Poole.
"I'm proud to be here, we just got into a firefight a couple of days ago, actually," said Klopp, 21, from Vancouver, Washington. "Our platoon and our squad have been in a lot of firefights. We're out here bringing the fight to the enemy. After having one of our Marines killed, it's good to be able to come out here and serve for him and carry on with the mission like he'd want us to do."
Many Marines serving at these positions echoed Klopp's sentiments, said they and their Marines are all proud to serve at a place named for a fallen friend, and hope when the next battalion comes to Nawa that they, too, will continue to honor those who did not return home.
Lance Cpl. Jeffrey P. Grivois, a fire team leader with 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, wears a metal bracelet to honor his friend, Lance Cpl. Noah M. Pier, who was killed in action in January and has a road in Nawa named in his honor. Grivois is currently serving at Patrol Base Meinert, named for another fallen Marine from Bravo Company, and both Meinert and Pier's photos are displayed at the post's entrance. Grivois, 21, is from Ocala, Florida.
Portraits of Lance Cpl. Jacob A. "Slim" Meinert and Lance Cpl. Noah M. Pier are displayed at the entrance to Patrol Base Meinert. The two Marines, who were in the same squad, were killed only weeks apart. A nearby road was recently named Route Pier.
Cpl. Kyle P. McDermott, an armorer with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, who served with Cpl. Mark Juarez, stands beside the new marker for Range Juarez. McDermott, 22, is from Loan Oak, Texas.
Posted by Wild Thing at May 31, 2010 04:40 AM
Its not easy to deal with and living with it day after day and remembering is the worst part. You always look to where they would have been but they are not there. Thats the part that sucks, that's the hard part and it never gets easier, you just go on, with part of you gone too.
Posted by: Mark at May 31, 2010 07:19 PM
a very humble thank you Mark.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 31, 2010 07:51 PM