MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – --
As Marines filed into the Combat Center’s Catholic Chapel, the overhead lanterns’ dim glow set a somber mood as a pianist played softly, providing a feeling of comfort for the Marines, sailors, families and friends joined together.
However, the chapel was not a place of worship the afternoon of July 10, it was a place to honor two 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion Marines who lost their lives over Fourth of July weekend.
Lance Cpl. Julio Galvan, a 21-year-old automotive diesel mechanic with 3rd CEB, and a Maywood, Ill., native, Pfc. Isidro Godinez, a 19-year-old automotive diesel mechanic with 3rd CEB, and a Calexico, Calif., native, were remembered after a motor vehicle accident took their lives July 3.
The National Anthem played as Marines and families stood to pay respects to not only the country, but also a tribute to the two men who signed up to fight for it.
Navy Capt. Conrad Targonski, the director of the Combat Center’s Religious Ministries Directorate, and a Chicago native, opened the service by reading the invocation, a passage from the bible and said his reflections of the young men.
“This afternoon we honor these Marines,” said Targonski, as he talked about the honor all service members experience.
The Engineer Support Company commander for the battalion, 1st Lt. Sergio Sandoval, paid his respects to the families of both Marines as he spoke English and Spanish, and opened up the floor for those who knew the two young men best.
“We stuck together through hard times,” said Lance Cpl. Alvin Julaton, an automotive diesel mechanic with the battalion, as he talks about Godinez. “I feel sorry for those who never knew him because he was someone special.
“If he [Galvan] were here, I would tell him I looked up to him,” he said.
Lance Cpl. Eric Morant, an automotive diesel mechanic with the battalion, also reflected on the character of his friends and what they meant to him.
“They always gave their all,” he said. “They always lead from the front and never from the rear. They were truly my best friends.”
As each of the close friends of the men stood up and said a few words, many of the reflections were saddening, but the families listened and cherished what their loved one’s friends thought of them.
After the final reflections, the Marines’ Prayer and ceremonial role call were read. Initially, several Marines names were called and they answered. Then the names of the fallen were yelled out. After both names were called, they were only met with silence.
Taps played after the role call as the fellow Marines and family members fought back tears of grief. Targonski read the benediction and the congregation joined in a hymn before the Marines paid respects to the families of their brothers-in-arms.
As each Marine shook the hands of the family members, it left an imprints on their hearts of how much their son, brother, cousin or nephew, was truly loved by his fellow Marines.