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    What's in a name? Marines of 1/3 in Nawa honor fallen brothers

    What's in a name?  Marines of 1/3 in Nawa honor fallen brothers

    Photo By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Tuthill | A Marine from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, walks past a portrait...... read more read more

    NAWA, Helmand Province, Afghanistan – Since their deployment to Afghanistan began in November, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, have conducted counterinsurgency operations from dozens of positions throughout 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, 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, Wash. "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.



    Date Taken: 05.23.2010
    Date Posted: 05.23.2010 04:14
    Story ID: 50114
    Location: NAWA, AF 

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