CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, honored Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez during a memorial service aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 11, 2014.
Rodriguez was killed in action Dec. 11, 2013, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, when an Improvised Explosive Device struck his vehicle.
For the ceremony, not only were the Marines and sailors of 1st CEB present, but also Rodriguez' mother Lisa, his father Rolando, his sister Lauren Weber, his brother Adam and his fiancé Julia Tapper.
During the ceremony, many Marines spoke of how great a person and Marine Rodriguez was, including Lt. Col. Andrew Winthrop, the 1st CEB commander.
"Matthew was an outstanding Marine who never waivered from the task at hand," Winthrop said. "We have lost not only a great Marine, but we have lost a brother. Today is the day we honor him with this memorial for his friends and family to see."
After the ceremony, Tapper had good things to say about how the unit honored the memory of her fiancée.
"I thought they did a great job in every aspect of the ceremony," Tapper said. "Matthew was a courageous person even before he joined the military and it was nice to hear others in his unit acknowledge that characteristic."
According to Tapper, Rodriguez enjoyed playing golf. Therefore, in order to honor his memory she plans on holding an annual Golf memorial.
Other Marines of 1st CEB had other ways of honoring his memory.
"The battalion had a Red Sox jersey made with his name on the back and the number 19 for his age," said Sgt. John Ovalle, the assistant platoon sergeant for 1st CEB. "I also got one for myself and I plan on wearing it not only on memorial days but also on his birthday."
Winthrop mentioned that the best characteristic of Rodriguez was his selflessness. Therefore, the Marines were told to honor his memory by applying that characteristic to themselves to the best of their ability, and to never forget the kind of Marine he was and the difference he made to the unit.