MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The image of eight M-16A2 service rifles bayoneted into the ground with helmets perched on top of the butt stocks, dog tag chains dangling from pistol grips, and empty combat boots is a familiar and haunting picture. Below each memorial is a picture of each fallen hero; seven Marines and one Navy corpsman. All eight troops in this case were with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and was remembered by the Combat Center Oct. 6.
Throughout their deployment, 3rd LAR spent almost all of their time assisting Iraqi Forces patrol and secure Al Anbar province, a region in western Iraq.
The following of the 3rd LAR Wolfpack were remembered:
• Sgt. Christen B. Williams, a 27-year-old from Winterhaven, Fla.
• Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, a 28-year-old from Wolf Creek, Mont.
• Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, a 21-year-old from Salt Lake City.
• Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, a 19-year-old from Clovis, Calif.
• Lance Cpl. Jason Hanson, a 21-year-old from Forks, Wash.
• Lance Cpl. Shane P. Harris, a 23-year-old from Las Vegas.
• Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, a 21-year-old from Bend, Ore.
• Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon, a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz.
Williams, Baucus, Butterfield and Hanson were killed July 29 by a vehicle borne suicide improvised explosive device.
Galvez, Newman and Kenyon were killed Aug. 20 when their humvee was caught in the blast of an improvised explosive device during a patrol.
Harris was killed Sept. 3 by a pressure plate IED.
The fallen Marines and sailor were represented by seven Marines and one corpsman who spoke on their behalf. Each speech gave brief, but powerful insight, into the lives of these fallen brothers in arms and the impact they had on those who knew them.
Lt. Col. Matthew L. Jones, the 3rd LAR commanding officer, said even though a memorial was held in Iraq he was glad to have the families come out for this one.
"It’s a good chance for them to meet the families," he explained about his Marines. "It also gives the families a chance to hear stories about their Marine. It’s good for both sides."
The loved ones in the crowd showed many emotions during the memorial: grief, anguish and sorrow.
"This is our testament to these great men," said Jones. "I will miss them, but I am proud to have served with them."
Capt. Ripley Rawlings, the commanding officer for 3rd LAR, Company D, spoke these words in his speech addressing the crowd:
"I inscribe the names of our fallen warriors upon my soul … they rise from the ashes like the phoenix to sit beside the warriors of old: Achilles, Alexander, Chesty … for those about to ascend and join the eternal heroes of the Corps, I render our salute."
For those who have seen a memorial of fallen Marines, it is a lingering image that never loses its significance. To the lives these warriors have touched, they will not soon be forgotten.