RAMADI, Iraq -- Capt. Mark A. Liston remembers working closely to a Marine he described as outstanding and good man whose commitment to excellence was an inspiration to everyone.
“He was a man you could rely on,” said Liston, 35, from Kent, R.I. “His ability to bring up morale during dull or challenging times helped us follow through some trying periods.”
Camp Lejeune-based Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment gathered inside the Morale, Welfare Recreational Center at Hurricane Point on June 27 to remember one of their fallen heroes.
Lance Cpl. Nicolas J. Whyte was killed in action on June 21 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in the Al Anbar Province. Whyte, a 21-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y., was part of 3rd Platoon, Weapons Company. He was described by many as physically and mentally tough and extremely proficient at his job.
Lance Cpl. Amarinder S. Grewal spoke of how he missed his best friend’s laughter, his gestures, and company.
“Nick possessed all the positive attributes a human could hope for,” said Grewal, 24, from Detroit, Mich. “Through him I not only found a friend, I found a brother.”
During the memorial service Cpl. Matthew E. Bucceri played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Psalms 23 was read out loud by the platoon along with a reading of the Marine’s Prayer from Cpl. Keith M. Richardson.
Three of Whyte’s fellow teammates placed the traditional Marine memorial together, a helmet resting on a butt stock of a rifle, dog tags, and a pair of boots placed alongside a photo of Whyte. “Taps” was then played and each service member stood and paid their respects with a final salute.
Lt. Col. Stephen M. Neary, battalion commander, described Whyte as “a United States Marine, a son, and a proud American.”
“The young man joined following 9/11,” said Neary, 40, from Boston. “A man who could see the burning towers of the world trade center and still joined. A man such as this has substance, he has meaning.”
“As long as there is a 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines and your memories of Lance Cpl. Whyte, he will be a part of us as we continue to fight battles on land and on the sea,” said Neary during the ceremony.
Liston, the commanding officer for Weapons Company, spoke of the aspects that Whyte brought to his platoon.
“His infantry skills, strength, and bravery added to the company as a whole. Whyte is someone you could always count on to finish a task,” said Liston. “Whyte’s sense of humor and desire to see someone smile certainly helped out the team.”
“Whyte took care of himself as well as his comrades,” he said.
Lance Cpl. Jason M. Morgan also spoke about Whyte during the service.
“He was the type of friend you could bring home to your parents and not be ashamed because he was a well mannered person,” said Morgan, a 21-year-old. “If there is one thing I will always remember about Nick is he was calm, collected, and easy going about everything.”
Whyte attended Marine Corps boot camp and graduated the Basic Infantryman and Mortarman Courses in 2004. He’s deployed with 3rd Bn., 8th Marines to Haiti the same year and then to Fallujah, Iraq in 2005. This was his second tour to Iraq.
His awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.