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    Marines bid farewell to friend, brother

    Marines bid farewell to friend, brother

    Photo By Cpl. Mark Garcia | Sirius, a military working dog, pays his respects to his handler Sgt. Joshua R. Ashley...... read more read more

    CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN

    08.19.2012

    Story by Cpl. Mark Garcia 

    Regional Command Southwest

    CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – On a quiet Friday afternoon, more than 100 coalition service members gathered to honor Sgt. Joshua R. Ashley, a fallen comrade during a memorial ceremony in the Regional Command Southwest chapel, Aug. 17.

    Before the ceremony, Marines constructed a traditional field memorial providing them the opportunity to pay their final respects. The memorial consisted of a kevlar with identification tags signifying never to forget Ashley, a rifle with a bayonet upside down signifying a time of prayer and a break in action to pay tribute and a pair of boots signifying this was Ashley’s last march.

    Ashley, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was a dog handler with Military Working Dogs Platoon, 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward). He was killed in action, July 19, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. During the ceremony fellow dog handlers and friends spoke of the man and Marine Ashley was and what they would remember most about him.

    “Sgt. Joshua Ashley was a man who loved his job, family and his Marines,” said Lance Cpl. Philip R. Beauchamp. “There’s nothing more he wanted than to share the field of battle with his men. The men who fought beside him will never forget the loyalty and good nature of this warrior.”

    During the ceremony, Lance Cpl. Kent F. Ferrell reminisced about his time spent with Ashley and how he would cope with the loss of a close friend.

    “This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve had to deal with the loss of a good friend,” Ferrell said. “While we can spend the rest of our lives wishing about what ifs, we can also celebrate the life of a true friend and an outstanding Marine. We can dive into the sea of sorrow or we can be incredibly grateful to have shared some incredible moments with Sgt. Ashley. Fellow Marines, family and we, his friends, have been blessed to have such a great guy come into our lives. Semper Fidelis sergeant I will not forget you my friend.”

    Corporal Ryan G. Hale, also spoke during the ceremony.

    “Today there is a large chunk of our hearts that is missing,” Hale said. “We all know Sgt. Ashley to be an outstanding Marine. But to most of us, he was an outstanding person and an outstanding friend. Always remember 19 July 2012. Sergeant thank you for paying the ultimate sacrifice, watch over us.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.19.2012
    Date Posted: 08.19.2012 06:07
    Story ID: 93491
    Location: CAMP LEATHERNECK, AF 

    Web Views: 995
    Downloads: 3

    PUBLIC DOMAIN