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    Marines say goodbye to fallen brother

    Marines say goodbye to fallen brother

    Photo By Cpl. Mark Garcia | Marines along with their Afghan National Security Force partners honor fallen hero...... read more read more

    AFGHANISTAN

    04.19.2012

    Story by Lance Cpl. Mark Garcia 

    Regimental Combat Team 6

    COMBAT OUTPOST SHIR GHAZAY, Afghanistan -- On a hot Friday morning, more than 100 Marines gathered to honor Cpl. Alex Martinez, a fallen comrade, during a memorial ceremony, April 13.

    Martinez, from Elgin, Ill., was a combat engineer with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward) deployed in support of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

    He was killed April 5 while conducting combat operations in the Now Zad District.

    This was Martinez’s second deployment to Afghanistan with 1st CEB.

    Marines honored Martinez with a traditional field memorial that the Corps has practiced for years. A rifle stands inverted, signifying a time of somber prayer and respite. A pair of boots placed in front symbolizes the young hero’s last march. His helmet and identification tags hang upon the rifle to remind the Marines to never forget their fallen brother.

    Under a canopy to block the blazing Afghan sun, friends, commanders, and the 1st CEB chaplain spoke about Martinez the man and the Marine.

    “Today we remember a Marine who represented the very best of our society and who embodied the fighting spirit of our Marine Corps,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Niebel, commanding officer of 1st CEB. “Alex was a man who many referred to as a quiet professional. He woke up day after day, put on the uniform and did his duty to the best of his ability. Alex’s loss is the Marine Corps’ loss. We lost one of our best while he was doing what he loved: serving with his brother Marines and taking part in something bigger than himself.”

    During the ceremony, Cpl. Brandon A. Derrick, combat engineer, 1st CEB, reminisced about his time spent with Martinez. Derrick was in the same squad as Martinez during their first deployment.

    “To me, Cpl. Martinez was a friend and also an older brother,” said Derrick. “Alex always had encouraging words to say to us if any of us felt down, sad or just in a bad mood. I always knew he was a strong person, and I looked up to him. I still look up to him. He was everything a Marine should be. He would want us to live on and remember the good times we had with him. Alex was a true joy to have around.”

    Navy Lt. Loren Crone, 1st CEB’s chaplain, also spoke during the memorial service.

    “Alex’s life, courage and sacrifice offer us all a glimpse into what humanity looks like at its finest,” Crone said. “He traded his life for the life of others and we are now left with the gift of his memory. His 21 years were filled with choices which men don’t make in 80 years of life. He risked all for a worthy cause - the care, the service of others and their God-given natural rights. More than anything else, Alex Martinez led from the front to protect the lives of those on his left and on his right, because that’s what Marines do.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.19.2012
    Date Posted: 04.19.2012 03:02
    Story ID: 86954
    Location: AF
    Hometown: ELGIN, IL, US

    Web Views: 1,788
    Downloads: 3
    Podcast Hits: 0

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