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These brave Marines, who stood their ground against all odds of survival, paid the price for freedom with their lives on some lonely piece of hallowed ground in Iraq

Paying Tribute to the Fallen Marine Snipers of 3/25
by
James Gularte, Association Ambassador

We will remember you...Marine Snipers
Sgt Nathaniel Rock, Sgt David Coullard,
Cpl Jeffrey Boskovitch
LCpl Roger Castleberry, Jr., LCpl Daniel Deyarmin, Jr.
LCpl Brian Montgomery

 

Killed In Combat

In mid-August of 2005, I read in our local newspaper that six Marine Snipers from Weapons Company 3rd BN 25th Marine Regiment had been killed by enemy fire while serving in Iraq.  All at the same time.

I was stunned by the news because I couldn't recall ever losing, or ever hearing of six Marine Snipers being killed in combat at the same time in one combat action.

I immediately called the Sniper School at Camp Pendleton, California and asked if they'd hear the news and had any details on what had happened.  The local paper only mentioned that the Snipers were on patrol in a military humvee and had gotten themselves surrounded by Iraqi insurgents.  The insurgents asked the Marines to surrender.  Upon refusing, the Marines were killed.

I also advised the NCOIC at the Sniper School that I had observed the display of Marine Sniper weapons and gear on CNN while the masked insurgent leader was being interviewed by reporters.

The NCOIC at Camp Pendleton Sniper School could only confirm we did have six Marine Snipers from 3/25, an Ohio Reserve Unit, killed in combat on 01 August 2005; and that the investigation into their deaths was ongoing.

I was deeply saddened by this incident.  It immediately brought clear flashbacks of my combat in Vietnam and losing my comrades in battle.  But six Snipers at one time?  This was totally shocking to the imagination.

Artist Rendering of a Tribute to Our Snipers

I contacted an artist friend of mine, Marine Warrior Ted Chastney, who resides in Palm Desert, California and told him the story of our brave Marines who refused to surrender and die, fighting to the last man standing, maintaining the highest traditions of Corps, God and Country.  Ted agreed we needed a strong statement depicting their bravery, yet revealing our sorrow for such a sacrifice.

True to his talent,  Ted was able to create a Marine Sniper dressed in a ghillie suit, in a combat environment taking the time in the heat of battle to fall to one knee,  rifle turned upside down and head bowed in prayer for his fallen comrades.

It wasn't long before Ted's artistry became a reality.  The first print of the Sniper's Tribute has been framed, and is joined by a plaque with the six Marine Snipers' names.  Both have been placed on the Memorial Wall inside the Camp Pendleton Sniper School.

As word of my impending trip to visit the Ohio families spread, additional gifts for the Unit and their families were received.  In addition to Ted's prints, the NCOIC of Camp Pendleton Sniper School honored the six Marines with specially made Sniper Medallions with serial numbers.  Former Marine Sniper and co-owner of Strider Knives, Duane Dwyer, donated six Marine 8541 Sniper knives to the families.

Where is Ohio and Does it Require a Passport?

With all the gifts packed, I was armed and ready to take a journey to Ohio.  But where is Ohio?  With passport in hand and my shots up to date, I set out in search of Cleveland, Ohio.  Luck was with me.  My good friend, Jim O'Neill, former Commandant of the San Clemente Marine Corps League, had attended the memorial services in Cleveland and was heading back there again on 17 March.  He offered to escort me to the 3/25 complex.

On Monday, 20 March, I was received by Commanding Officer LtCol Michael Brown and senior staff members MSGT Ralph Perrine, GySgt Pavlovski and SSgt Dan Priestly.  The men and women of 3/25 treated myself and Jim O'Neill as if we were family.  They, and the families of the fallen Marines, were overwhelmed by the gifts and very appreciative  that Marines from the West Coast would travel to Ohio to honor their Marines.

A Proud History, These Marines of 3/25

The 3rd BN 25th Marine Regiment has a proud history.  They fought on four major island in WWII, including Iwo Jima.  When asked to return to fight, they stepped up to the plate with the same bulldog warrior tenacity they showed in Iraq.  Recently adopted by NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, 3/25 is currently in the process of  restoring their unit complex and training for the road back to Iraq.

They have been bloodied by war and have suffered unimaginable loss.  Over 40 Marines from their unit paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Iraqi Freedom, 21 of whom were lost in just one week (including our six Snipers).  They have lost close friends.  They see other Marine Warriors disabled from the wounds of war.  Yet....nothing seems to alter their course.  They know a job needs to be finished, and they are preparing to accomplish the task.  They will meet the enemy and defeat him.

I will never forget my experience with the members of  HQ CO 3/25 and look forward to re-visiting the new friends I have made.  The next time you hear The Marine Corps Hymn, please stand a little taller and ask God to watch over them as they go back into harm's way.

 




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