MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Marines, Sailors, family and friends of 1st Tank Battalion’s Lance Cpl. Michael Probst gathered at the base theater Wednesday to remember the Marine who gave his life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom earlier this year.
Probst, who was a member of Tow Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, was killed by an improvised explosive device blast Feb. 14, while conducting combat operations in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.
An Irvine, Calif. native, Probst enlisted in the Marine Corps in November 2004 after attending college at California State University, Chico. Putting his college career on hold, Probst answered his call to serve.
“Michael Probst was a selfless man,” said Lt. Col. Aaron T. Slaughter, 1st Tank Battalion commanding officer. “He was drawn to our Corps by a sense of duty, a duty which he faithfully and bravely performed until he was killed. Killed by an enemy who wants to kill hope.”
Probst was killed on Valentine’s Day with June 14 memorial service coming exactly four months later.
During the service, Probst was remembered by many as a man of faith, loyalty, intelligence and honor.
“We were at war when he enlisted, the War on Terrorism, and he knew the risks,” said Slaughter. “He knew the risks of losing his friends, he knew the risks of personal injury, and he knew the risk of death. He also knew his fellow Marines needed him, and he was always there for them. Michael knew the freedom this country had given him.”
Friends who served with Probst spoke during the service.
Lance Cpl. Angel Sanchez, a TOW gunner and close friend, drove the humvee Probst was assigned to and was also his roommate in Iraq.
“He taught me a lot,” said Sanchez. “He taught me how to be a man. He was 26 years old, six years older than I was. I learned a lot from him. I’m proud I had the privilege to be with Michael Probst…and we will never forget him.”
Lance Cpl. Brian Ballasch, a TOW gunner and close friend, spoke about his respect for Probst.
“Michael Probst was my closest friend in the Marine Corps,” said Ballasch, adding later, “I remember him for his friendship and the sound advice he gave. He was one of the most intelligent and honorable men I’ve ever met. The Marines of TOW Platoon will never forget him.”
The service concluded with 1st Sgt. William Harvey, H & S Company first sergeant, conducting a final roll call, followed by the playing of Taps.