JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Above, Joanne and David Fuller received the Bronze Star for their son yesterday afternoon at the Pacific War Memorial at Kaneohe. Their son, 1st Lt. Travis Fuller of Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, was killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in western Iraq.
cited after death
Travis Fuller's parents
receive the Bronze Star he
won for action in Iraq
First Lt. Travis Fuller led his Marines from the front into urban warfare in Fallujah, where some of the fiercest fighting took place in Iraq, the Marines say.
Fuller was credited by the Marine Corps with the successful assault on insurgents inside the Al Tawfiq Mosque, one of the biggest battles in Fallujah, after the Marines had been pinned down by gunfire.
That was two months before the 26-year-old was killed in a helicopter crash with 25 other Kaneohe Marines and a Pearl Harbor sailor in western Iraq.
Yesterday, Fuller's parents received a Bronze Star during a ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on behalf of their son for his combat heroism in November and December.
Fuller's Bronze Star comes with the Combat Distinguishing Device.
"We lost a lot of good men in Iraq on this deployment," said Lt. Col. Michael Ramos, commander of Kaneohe's 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "Travis was a man among those heroes, selfless, always upbeat, always out in front."
Fuller died when a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed Jan. 26 during a fierce sandstorm in Iraq's vast western desert. The transport helicopter was taking the troops to a base near the Syrian border for security operations in preparation for Iraq's national elections.
Fuller's father, David, said no one in the family had a clue that Travis wanted to be a Marine until he joined and went to Officer Candidates School in 2001. But he knew his son wanted to do something in life that made a difference.
"And that's why I think in Iraq, he would have loved to see the elections. He would have been really proud to see that he did make a difference," Fuller said.
Travis Fuller is from Granville, Mass. He was a platoon commander in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
In July 2004, he and more than 900 members of 1st Battalion left for Okinawa for what was supposed to be a routine seven-month deployment. The unit was redeployed to Iraq for the assault on Fallujah.
Forty-three Marines and two sailors assigned to 1st Battalion were killed in action in Iraq. The remaining members returned to Kaneohe last month.
Following yesterday's ceremony, Travis' mother, Joanne Fuller, welcomed the men of Charlie Company home and thanked them for their service.
"Last fall, we had promised Travis that we would be here to meet the plane when he returned. We could do no less than to come to welcome you all home, the rest of his Marine family."