MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The journey began early Oct. 4 for a handful of Marines from Company B, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, who set out on a 26-mile hike through the streets of Portland, Maine, to honor fallen service members.
Ten “Wolfpack” warriors volunteered their time and effort to take part in the Maine Marathon Tribute March, a portion of the 18th annual Peak Performance Maine Marathon.
“The event was originally created by the Maine National Guard a few years ago,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Singley, a platoon sergeant from Co. B. “Now, it’s a joint effort between all branches of service to honor those who have been killed in combat.”
Singley, a native of Sparta, Ga., said this is his third time participating in the March, which is in its fourth year as a fixture in the marathon.
“The first time I participated, I had recently come back from Iraq, where my unit lost 11 Marines,” he said. “I did it to honor them. When I came to this battalion, I started talking about it and a lot of guys wanted to sign up.”
All in all, nine other Marines completed the Tribute March with Singley. They are:
• 1st Lt. Lucian Mossbarger, platoon commander, from Brenham, Texas
• 1st Lt. Nick De Greggorio, platoon commander, from Ridgewood, N.J.
• Sgt. Mike Gripp, vehicle commander, from Lebanon, Ill.
• Cpl. Jeremy Shurtleff, rifleman, from Salt Lake City
• Cpl. William Mauro, light armored vehicle gunner, from Kalamazoo, Mich.
• Cpl. J. Pierre DeForest, LAV crewman, from Denver
• Cpl. Cody May, LAV gunner, from Oviedo, Fla.
• Lance Cpl. Sam Smalley, team leader, from Sacramento, Calif.
• Lance Cpl. Daniel Stice, team leader, from Effingham, Ill.
The Marines who participated with Singley said they wanted to complete the marathon to honor their friend Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver, a rifleman with Co. B, who was killed in Iraq in February 2008.
During the last several miles of the march, the families of service members who have been killed in combat walked alongside the Marines, cheering them on until they reached the finish line. This gave the Marines a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.
“This is one of my proudest moments in the Marine Corps,” Mauro said. “It’s long, frustrating and tiring; but at the end when you finish, you feel a lot better about yourself for doing it.”
May said he was also proud of himself and the rest of the Marines for finishing the march.
“This is something I’d definitely do again,” May said. “Aside from sleeping on the floor in the National Guard armory the night before, it was a great experience.”
Overall, it took the Co. B Marines about eight hours to complete the entire 26-mile trek. They all agreed the march was exhausting, but rewarding.
Singley and the rest of the Marines who participated said they plan to return to Maine next year to complete the Tribute March again, and hope to motivate more of their fellow Marines to accompany them.