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    Alpha Company, 1/23 reflects on fallen brothers

    Alpha Company, 1/23 reflects on fallen brothers

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith | FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Nimroz province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan -...... read more read more

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, NIMROZ PROVINCE, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, AFGHANISTAN

    05.22.2011

    Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith 

    Regimental Combat Team 8

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Nimroz province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - Marines and sailors of 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, and Regimental Combat Team 8, paused to remember the lives of Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith and Navy Seaman Benjamin Rast, May 22.

    Smith and Rast were killed in action April 6 while conducting a dismounted patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Smith was 26 and from Arlington, Texas. Rast was 23, and from Niles, Mich.

    During the ceremony, many Marines and sailors came forward to talk about the impact the fallen had played in their lives. Smith, a platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1/23, was remembered for his love of riding motorcycles, his vast collection of music and his stern scowl and how he could turn it into a smile and light up a room in an instant.

    “You always felt safe having him fighting next to you,” said Sgt. Jared Hammonds, a squad leader for 2nd Plt. “No matter what happened, you could rely on him to keep everyone calm and collected.”

    “He was a pure patriot; an unapologetic warrior,” said 2nd Lt. Christopher Huff, 2nd Platoon commander. “He wasn’t just a platoon sergeant. He was a mentor, leader and friend. I miss him very much.”

    Rast, a hospital corpsman for 2nd Plt., was known for his large build, humor and fearless nature.

    “I remember thinking, if any of us were to get injured, he would just heave us onto his shoulders and carry us out; possibly two at a time,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua Gil, a rifleman with 2nd Plt.

    “Doc Rast was a guy that could make you laugh no matter the situation,” said Sgt. Apolinar Valdez, a squad leader for 2nd Platoon. "He wanted no more than to deploy with a platoon of grunts and serve his country.

    “He was always eager to help his Marines to carry gear or ammo…to a point where we had to remind him he was a corpsman,” added Valdez.

    Following the ceremony, those in attendance paid their individual respects to the fallen. With a slight rub of the identification tags, a silent prayer or short touch of the helmet each made their way in front of the battlefield memorial to say a final good bye to their fallen brothers.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.22.2011
    Date Posted: 05.30.2011 00:17
    Story ID: 71297
    Location: FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, NIMROZ PROVINCE, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, AF

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