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The Color Guard Marines of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, march the colors onto Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field during the memorial ceremony of Maj. Lee G. Helton, the executive officer of 2/7, May 1. Helton was killed in a motorcycle accident April 28.

Photo by Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine

2/7, friends, family say goodbye to leader, friend

1 May 2009 | Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine

Marines, sailors, family and loved ones of a deceased Combat Center Marine gathered at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field to honor his memory May 1.

Maj. Lee G. Helton, the executive officer of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was killed in a motorcycle accident April 28.

The memorial attendees gathered under the shade of the field’s bleacher canopy to pay respects, exchange memories, and honor the Tulsa, Okla., native who was described by Lt. Col. John M. Reed, the battalion commanding officer, as genuine, innocent, and peace making.

“Maj. Lee Helton pursued peace,” said Reed in his speech during the ceremony. “He sacrificed to better others.  He took up arms with just cause.

“Maj. Lee Helton was a leader and through his innate humility; he could lead and succeed with the ultimate confidence of subordinates, peers, and seniors,” he said.  “He was genuine and innocent. He looked at others through a lens without judgment.”

Helton was commissioned into the Marine Corps May 8, 1993. He served his first duty as a rifle platoon commander and Weapons Company executive officer of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment out of Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Helton then completed two deployments, served as the recruiting state executive officer at Recruiting Station Kansas City, stood as the commanding officer of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and served as the training officer in charge for the Georgia Train and Equip Program out of the Republic of Georgia.

Helton then transferred to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., as the operations officer of Weapons and Field Training Battalion.

In 2006, Helton reported to the Combat Center as the executive officer of 2/7.  While here, he was assigned as a military transition team chief for an Iraqi Army battalion in Fallujah, Iraq, until July 2007. He was then returned to his position as the executive officer and deployed with the battalion to Afghanistan, returning in November 2008.

“Maj. Helton was an outstanding Marine officer who always took the time to listen to and mentor all Marines in the battalion,” said Sgt. Maj. Matthew B. Brookshire, the 2/7 battalion sergeant major. “He was never too busy to help those in need or those seeking advice.

“I will always remember Maj. Helton as a leader who cared about the Marines, the unit and the Corps,” he said. “He always ensured the mission was accomplished and that the battalion was taken care of.  He was a dedicated Marine who cherished his wife, Deb, and family.  He will be missed by all that had the honor to serve with him.”

A vigil service was provided at the Catholic Chapel May 2, followed by a memorial mass at the chapel May 3. Family members of Helton opened the doors to anyone who wished to pay their last respects to a fallen brother in arms.

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