MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The town of North Topsail Beach, N.C., is a small community lined with vacation homes, small shops and local restaurants. It is also the sight of a memorial. A cenotaph dedicated to the life of a Marine and the service members who have served their nation in times of peace and war.
Friends and family of Gunnery Sgt. Darrell W. Boatman, of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, along with citizens of the surrounding area, gathered in remembrance during an annual ceremony held at the fallen 8th ESB Marine’s memorial site at North Topsail Beach Nov. 3.
Boatman died Nov. 4, 2005 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device attack Nov. 2, 2005, while conducting combat operations in the Al-Anbar province.
The town of North Topsail Beach honored Boatman by re-naming the road Marine Drive to GySgt. D.W. Boatman Drive during a memorial ceremony Dec. 7, 2005. The service has become an annual event, being held at a various date each year.
“This memorial is in memory of Darrell and all the veterans who have served their country,” said the mother of Gunnery Sgt. Boatman.
The importance of the relationship forged between United States service members during their careers was highlighted during the ceremony by retired Gunnery Sgt. Jason Wagner, who served with Boatman as an explosive ordnance disposal technician.
“No matter the distance in miles, no matter the days, months or even years of time that keep comrades from one another, their distinct relationships have already bonded them through distinct experiences,” Wagner said. “These experiences are the forging of a life-long bond that can only be held in our military services.”
The family and friends of Boatman, as well as the residents of North Topsail Beach, expressed their admiration to the town for its two years of dedication to the memory of the 8th ESB Marine and other fallen service members.
“I’m very proud to live in a town that sees it fit to dedicate a memorial to a Marine,” said Lt. Col. Thomas E. Leonard, a North Topsail Beach resident. “It’s very important for the community to remember our veterans.”