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    ‘The Magnificent Bastards’ remember fallen brothers

    ‘The Magnificent Bastards’ remember fallen brothers

    Photo By Sgt. Benjamin Crilly | Larry Veach, a former Marine and a bagpiper of 35 years, plays "Amazing Grace" during...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Benjamin Crilly 

    1st Marine Division

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Five 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marines were memorialized by their fellow comrades, friends and family during a memorial service at San Mateo, April 12.

    The Marines (Staff Sgt Stephen J. Dunning, Sgt William C. Stacey, Cpl. Jonluke Bateman, Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt and Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Cochran) were killed in action while conducting combat operations as part of the ‘The Magnificent Bastards’ during the battalion’s recent deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan.

    “Sergeant Major Keith Williams and I thank you all for joining the men of the battalion today for today’s remembrance ceremony when we as Marines formally say good-bye to our fallen comrades in arms,” said Lt. Col. William Vivian, battalion commander of 2/4. “We say goodbye to our fellow Marines, our brothers.”

    A solemn breeze cooled the morning air across a parade deck as Marines, family members, and friends gathered to honor their fallen loved ones. The five battlefield memorials, which lined the front of a battalion of Marines in formation, reminded all of the high price of freedom.

    “Spread out over an area twice the size of Camp Pendleton, these Magnificent Bastards worked together as brothers and liberated villages, gave people hope and brought smiles to children’s faces,” Vivian said. “And yet, we would not be here today if these achievements did not come with the highest of prices.

    “Instead we are here today to remember and pay tribute to five young men who inspired their brothers by their life and their friendship; and who inspire us all by their sacrifice in the service of their nation.”

    Each Marine was honored first by their respective company commander and their best friends in the battalion. Warriors and comrades stood up and expressed the jovial attitudes, patriotic spirit and giving hearts seemingly shared by all who sacrificed their lives for their country.

    The men came from a wide scope of specialties ranging from a basic rifleman to an explosive ordnance technician to a water support technician. Marines bore testament to their professionalism, dedication to duty and the way they tirelessly contributed to the success of the mission.

    The testimonies brought both tears and laughs to those in attendance, as the Marines remembered the times they spent with the fallen and the way they conducted themselves at home and in combat.

    Sgt. Maj. D. Keith Williams, sergeant major of 2/4, sounded final roll call by reciting the full names of each of the five Marines. The silence, pierced with the tone of a single bell after each name, symbolized that while the Marines were absent, they will live on in the unit and Corps.

    A 21-gun salute and taps paid final homage to those who willingly gave their lives.

    Vivian reminded those gathered that everyone will cherish their own memories of how they met and knew each Marine, and shared how they will live on in his life.

    “Since this is so personal, I can say for me these five Marines stand for what is best,” Vivian said. “They achieved so much in such a short time, so now these five Magnificent Bastards are now frozen in time; frozen when they were at their best – dedicated to serving their country alongside their buddies.”



    Date Taken: 04.12.2012
    Date Posted: 04.12.2012 19:59
    Story ID: 86685
    Location: CA, US

    Web Views: 523
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