News: 1st Bn., 8th Marines honor fallen warrior
Story by Cpl. Joshua Hines
MUSA QAL’EH, Afghanistan – Marines and sailors with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, paused to honor their fallen brother, Staff Sgt. Javier O. Ortiz-Rivera, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Company A, during a memorial ceremony in Musa Qal’eh, Dec. 1.
“Many people here today can attest and say many great things about Staff Sergeant Ortiz as a Marine, but I would like to tell you about the great person he was and the impact he had on my life,” said Staff Sgt. Alex J. Reyes, a platoon sergeant with Company A. “I have known Staff Sergeant Ortiz and his family for about four years now and I can honestly say he has made me a better Marine, but most of all a better person.
“Staff Sergeant Ortiz was a family-oriented man. He was always talking about his wife, kids, and how much he loved them. All he cared about was making his family happy and proud of him, which he had no problem doing.”
Ortiz-Rivera was born Sept. 7, 1984 in Puerto Rico. He entered the Marine Corps July 1, 2002 and graduated recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Sept. 27, 2002. Upon completion of his basic training, Ortiz reported to School of Infantry, Camp Lejeune, N.C., successfully completing training as a Machine gunner. On Jan. 7, Ortiz reported for duty with 1st Bn., 8th Marines and was assigned to 2nd Platoon, Company A.
“Spending nearly every day together, we had become good friends. The best thing about Staff Sergeant Ortiz was that he could do that, be my friend, but when it came to work, he always maintained the highest degree of professionalism and I think that’s what made him a special man and a great Marine,” said 2nd Lt. Jason W. Blydell, platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, Company A.
While serving with 2nd Platoon, Ortiz’s leadership by example was the key to the successful completion of his platoon’s pre-deployment training in Fort Pickett, Va. and Twenty Nine Palms, Calif.
“A friend, a mentor, and a fine leader of men, Staff Sergeant Ortiz was a model Marine and a truly exceptional staff non-commissioned officer. A disciplined and professional warrior, he always knew that the art of leadership lay in genuinely taking care of those under your charge,” said Capt. Daniel F. O’Brien, commanding officer of Company A.
During the ceremony the commanding officer of 1st Bn., 8th Marines expressed his grief at the loss of Ortiz-Rivera.
“Staff Sergeant Javier Ortiz was a model Marine who’s exemplary personal conduct, behavior, and actions were tone setting,” said Lt. Col. Dan T. Canfield. “He was an inspiration to subordinates, peers, and seniors alike. He displayed a remarkable dedication to improving himself and others on a daily basis. His death is deeply felt by all of us who knew and served with him. He will be remembered by his friends and fellow Marines for his exemplary personal character, leadership, and professionalism.”
In his closing statements Canfield reassured those in attendance of the reasons the Marines will accomplish the mission at hand.
Final roll was called three times, only to be answered by silence. Taps followed in a final farewell.
"We will honor both Javier’s memory and his life by continuing to persevere in the face of adversity…” said Canfield. “…By accomplishing the mission that he made the ultimate sacrifice for.”