INDIAN HEAD, Md. --
Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head ExplosiveOrdnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) honored the sacrifice of Lance Cpl. Terry Edward "T. J." Honeycutt, Jr., by dedicating the Explosives Development Facility Administration Building and Change House (Bldg. 3137) located on Naval Support Facility Indian Head, in Indian Head, Md., Aug. 7.
The building - constructed as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission decision relocating functions from the command's Yorktown, Va., detachment - opened in April 2011. It serves as an administrative office for NSWC IHEODTD employees working on pressed explosives, and provides a change house area where employees can don flame-retardant personnel protective gear required for use in labs and industrial environments.
Family members, fellow Marines, NSWC IHEODTD employees, and Congressional representatives attended the event where a plaque noting Honeycutt's service and sacrifice was unveiled.
"A little more than two years ago, our command leadership and public affairs office started the process to name Building 3137," said NSWC IHEODTD Technical Director Dennis McLaughlin. "NSWC Indian Head EOD Technology Division has a long, 123-year history in Charles County, and it was important to us that we name this building after a local hero. We formed a list of people who were more than worthy to have a facility named after them, and Lance Cpl. Honeycutt quickly rose to the top."
Honeycutt - a Charles County, Md., resident - was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, in Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and had served for less than one year when he died, Oct. 27, 2010, from wounds received in combat during operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Honeycutt's former unit commander recalled the young Marine's contributions.
"When T.J. deployed to Afghanistan in June 2010, our battalion was sent to Northern Marja, which at the time was the most hostile area of Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Jim Fullwood. "It had been a base of operations for the Taliban for many years prior. T.J.'s company was placed in the roughest part. Until the day T.J. was killed in action, he carried out hundreds of patrols and fought daily battles. That's what Marines do.
"He also brought hope," continued Fullwood. "He worked with the Afghan army to train their soldiers, and begin to establish security for the Afghan people so they could raise their children and live their lives without fear of the oppressive Taliban. T.J. helped bring the first rays of light to a very dark part of the world. The difference he made to that troubled piece of Afghanistan was seen during our next deployment to Marja. Before, it had been the ulcer of Afghanistan. When we returned, it had become a model for the rest of the country. Where the government and Afghan forces could not travel before in the areas T.J. patrolled, they now travel freely. Where children were unable to attend school,
schools now flourish. Where the Afghan government could not reach, they now provide services. These were all changes brought on by the unselfish
dedication of Lance Cpl. T.J. Honeycutt."
Honeycutt's mother Christine shared her son's love of the military, and her gratitude for the recognition of his sacrifice.
"T.J. wanted to be on the front lines protecting us, his brothers, and our nation," said Honeycutt. "He knew he was risking his life and might never come home, but I don't think he was afraid to die as long as it was in an honorable manner. When people asked him why he wanted to be a Marine, he would always reply that he wanted to make a difference. That was his goal, and I think he accomplished it."
"When you lose a child, the first thing you want is your child back. The next thing you want is to have your child remembered - for them not to be forgotten. The whole world is moving on without your child, and you can't move forward. You're always looking back, screaming inside your head, 'Please, don't forget my child! Please, don't forget he existed! He fought for me. He fought for you. He gave his life for all of us,"Honeycutt concluded. "To know this building is here, and to know that the people who come into it for decades to come will know his name, and see his face, is a joy and comfort that I can't express with mere words."
A representative from Sen. Barbara Mikulski's staff read a letter to Honeycutt's family, and a representative from Sen. Ben Cardin's staff presented a citation to NSWC IHEODTD. NSWC IHEODTD Commanding Officer Capt. Thomas Smith noted the command's efforts would be in support of the men and women on the front lines.
"Most of the work done at our command is dedicated to helping our war fighters protect and defend this country," said Smith. "This includes detecting and safely disposing of IED's [improvised explosive devices] to prevent further loss of life. While we were not able to save T.J.'s life, we know that our work, conducted by people who will forevermore
come to work in the 'Lance Cpl. Honeycutt' building will continue to save lives."
NSWC IHEODTD, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, focuses on the research, development, test, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal of energetics and energetic systems as well as works to provide Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen worldwide with the information and technological solutions they need to detect/locate, access, identify, render safe, recover/exploit, and dispose of both conventional and unconventional explosive threats.