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Marines and sailors of 3rd LAR pause to reflect at their new memorial dedicated to the Wolf Pack Marines who lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom after the dedication ceremony of their memorial park June 14, 2011 in front of the 3rd LAR headquarters building.::r::::n::

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Dietz

Wolf Pack opens memorial park for fallen Marines

20 Jun 2011 | Lance Cpl. Sarah Dietz

Third Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion dedicated a memorial to the 11 Wolf Pack Marines who fell during Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2003 to 2009 June 14, 2011 during the unveiling of the 3rd LAR Memorial Park in front of their headquarters building.

The two-year-long project finally came to a close June 14, 2011when the OIF memorial was dedicated to the battalion.

“We aren’t deploying to Iraq anymore,” said Capt. Michael Simon the company commander for Company D. “It’s time to recognize that while this battalion did amazing things in Iraq, it came at a cost.”

Simon lost seven Marines in Iraq in 2006 during OIF when he served as a platoon commander for Co. D.

“It’s important to have a place that we can remember,” he said. “We have a short, but rich history, and they played into it as much as anyone else, if not more. This is the price we have to pay when we go to war.”

Like a family, the battalion shared good times and rough times together, Simon said, reflecting on his deployments with the unit.

“There is something about the Wolf Pack that draws you together like a family,” Simon said. “We lost seven guys in three weeks [that year]. That was something we had to work through. What’s worth noting is while we had seven pass away, the rest of the guys continued to fight. They continued to remember them and fight.”

The battalion stood at attention, ignoring the intense summer heat, to pay tribute to the brothers memorialized that day.

“This is an opportunity to recognize the selfless service and sacrifice of our Wolf Pack Marines who have come before us,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Kassner, the battalion commander of 3rd LAR. “The Marines and sailors whose names are etched on the stones before you gave their ultimate sacrifice in support of our nation. Although their lives have been cut short, they are anything but unfulfilled because each embarked on a service of something greater than themselves.”

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