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Marines with 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, stationed here, march off after placing helmets on the battlefield crosses of four Marines with the battalion who were killed in action during the unit’s last deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. The ceremony took place at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field Jan. 12, 2011.

Photo by Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Marines killed in combat leave lasting impression on unit

14 Jan 2011 | Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Third Combat Engineer Battalion gathered with family and friends to mourn four Marines lost during their last deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Jan. 12, 2011, at the Combat Center’s Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field.

The ceremony included passages from the Holy Bible, as well as flowers for those left behind and other memorials.

Those deceased included Staff Sgt. Michael Bock, an assault breacher vehicle commander and native of Leesburg, Fla., Sgt. Jesse Balthaser, a squad leader from Columbus, Ohio, Cpl. Paul Miller and Cpl. Jeffrey Standfest, both from Michigan. Miller was a fire team leader and Standfest was a dog handler with the battalion.

“Today we are again reminded of the value of life,” said Lt. Col. James H. Bain the commanding officer of 3rd CEB.

Bain took time to reminisce about those lost, and how their character affected the others in their unit.

“These men were not perfect, but they were United States Marines,” he said. “They were good men who decided not too long ago to take a different and difficult path and join the Marine Corps. They all volunteered to join in a time of war, knowing that they would eventually participate in that war.

“This desire to risk was accepted so that our mission and purpose might be accomplished,” he added.


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