RAMADI, Iraq -- More than 100 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, including Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), attended a memorial service at Hurricane Point to pay tribute to three fallen heroes.
Memorialized were Lance Cpl. Adam R. Murray, 21, from Shelby, Tenn.; Cpl. Timothy D. Roos, 21, from Hamilton, Ohio; and Pfc. Enrique C. Sanchez, 21, from Wake, N.C.
All were members of Vehicle Four, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Section, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, a Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based unit currently operating in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The young men lost their lives on July 27 when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb while on patrol in the Al Anbar provincial capital.
During the somber ceremony, Cpl. Matthew E. Bucceri played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Several Marines spoke on behalf of their fallen teammates. 2nd platoon recited Psalm 23, and Staff Sgt. Charles W. Moralez recited the Marines Prayer.
The hour-long ceremony ended with service members paying respects to each of the three Marines, all memorialized by a helmet, rifle, and dog tags.
The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Stephen M. Neary, spoke of each Marine’s commitment to the defense of the nation.
“They understood there is a greater tragedy than death: the victory of evil.” said Neary, 40, from Boston, Mass. “They believed in their families and they believed in their country and they understood freedom is not free.”
Capt. Mark R. Liston, Weapons Company commanding officer, talked about the attributes that distinguished each Marine.
“Victor Four’s crew was a unique bunch. From the physical strength of Pfc. Sanchez, the intellectual Lance Cpl. Murray, and the natural leader in Cpl. Roos,” said Liston, 35, from Kent, R.I. “They made an extremely difficult job look easy. They represented the best of America.”
The three Marines were veterans of two previous deployments with the battalion, one to Haiti in 2004 and one to Fallujah in 2005. The Marines were recommended for a medal with a combat distinguishing device for their actions during their current tour in Ar Ramadi.
Cpl. Kyle M. Dudding and Lance Cpl. Tyler G. Davis, both members of Weapons Company, remembered their good friend Roos.
“Timothy and I were more then best friends. We were family. Never in my life have I had a friend that meant so much to me as him,” said Dudding, 20, from Vermilion, La. “I looked at him as if he were my big brother. His parents looked at my wife, Ashley, and I as part of their family, and my parents looked at Sara and Tim as part of our family.”
Davis explained how Roos had led from the front.
“He didn’t just give an order and wait until it got done. He always put his hands in to help no matter what,” said Davis, a 21-year-old infantryman from Bell, Ky. “He knew how to be a leader. That’s why his squad always trusted him and followed him without question.”
Lance Cpl. Adam R. Murray was a Marine who was always there to lend an ear or offer support.
“Sometimes the only way to keep your head on straight despite the things we endure all day is to have a person to talk through your problems with,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Waldrop. “Adam was that type of person.”
Waldrop explained how he didn’t mind standing post during all hours of the night because Murray stood beside him.
“If you ask me what a Marine is, I won’t tell you a man who has an high and tight, or that is clean shaven, or that runs a perfect 300 PFT (physical fitness test),” said the 21-year-old infantryman. “What I will tell you is a Marine is a man you can count on to be there when you need him no matter the time or place.”
“He was always talking about his family and how his mom was such a good cook and how his dad could always find a better deal, and how good of a teacher his sister is,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Wales. “I know even though he is gone physically he will always be watching over us.”
Lance Cpl. Christopher W. Mahoney described his friend Pfc. Enrique “Henry” Sanchez, as a friend, brother, and hero.
Sanchez was the gunner for Vehicle Four.
“Henry was a great Marine and was always modest about how great he was about his job,” said Mahoney. “Some men search their whole lives for greatness and never find it, but at the age of 21, Henry found more than just greatness.”
Mahoney was not the only Marine to recognize Sanchez’s uncommon bravery. Two months earlier, the battalion commander had nominated Sanchez for the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device, the nation’s fifth highest award for heroism.
“He was one of the most courageous friends I have ever had the pleasure of becoming friends with,” added Mahoney.
“Loving husband, father, brother and sons, they’ve all touched far more then our unit,” said Liston. “Each one of them added something special to the unit, and we are undoubtedly better people for knowing them and having been able to serve with them.”