MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., --
The flag waved in the heavy wind, stars and stripes dancing around one another.
A formation of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment Marines stood at the center of Torrey L. Gray Field, silent and motionless. Families and Marines of other units filled the bleachers looking on toward 3/4’s formation. In between the two massive groups laid five picture frames each with the immortalized image of five fallen heroes.
The 3/4 memorial service took place at Gray Field on Oct. 27, 2011, honoring the Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country:
Staff Sgt. Leon H. Lucas Jr., 32, of Wilson, N.C.; Cpl. Paul H. Zanowick II, 23, of Miamisburg, Ohio; Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Sinton, Texas; Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, of Kailua Kona, Hawaii; and Lance Cpl. Jason D. Hill, 20, of Poway, Calif.
The ceremony started with colors and led to speeches by Lt. Col. Robert Piddock, commanding officer of 3/4; Cpl. Daniel W. Blesi, Company L, 3/4; and Cpl. Scotty Couch Weapons Co, 3/4.
Marines with either M16 A4 rifles, dog tags, Kevlar helmets or a pair of boots in hand, marched in single file posting in front of each picture frame.
Next, the name of each fallen Marine was called out as the Marines posted in front of the picture emplaced the rifle, helmet, dog tags and finally the boots, forming a battlefield cross in front of each picture.
Seven Marines with rifles standing at the edge of the service then fired three volleys into the air in honor of the Marines, a 21-gun salute.
The ceremony concluded with the families being given the right of being the first ones to approach the rifle memorials and pay their respects. Following them, an endless line of Marines and friends formed, waiting for their turns to pay tribute.
“We will continue to honor our fallen comrades’ lives by living and loving,” said Navy Lt. Dru Nelson, the unit’s chaplain. “Their memory will continue on and endure this side of eternity.”