CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, memorialized 25 Marines killed in action during a recent deployment to Sangin, Afghanistan.
“We continue to value their sacrifice, which is why we are here today,” said Lt. Col. Jason Morris, battalion commander of 3/5. “I take great pride that these men lived their lives with honor, courage, and commitment; that our God is merciful and that they will live forever in the history of the Corps.”
A solemn breeze cooled the morning air across a helicopter-landing-zone as Marines, family members, and friends gathered to honor their fallen loved ones. The 25 battlefield memorials in a semi-circle in front of a battalion of Marines in formation, reminded all of the high price of freedom.
Each Marine was honored first by their respective company commander and their best friend 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.
Each passing moment brought tears to Marines’ and family members’ eyes alike and echoed the heroic effort made by those fallen.
“For many of our wounded brothers, this is their first time back to the battalion and their friends,” said Morris. “The families have travelled across America, and today will help them understand how much we appreciate their brothers, sons, and husbands.”
Sgt. Maj. James Bushway, sergeant major of 3/5, sounded final roll call by reciting the full names of each of the 25 Marines killed-in-action. The silence after each name symbolizes that while the Marine is 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.
“Each loss hurts, but we must remember how they lived,” Morris said. “In life and death, they lived with the ultimate patriotism, courage, and passion for life.”