DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, held a service yesterday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe to honor 22 fellow Marines and a Navy corpsman who died while fighting in Iraq. CLICK FOR LARGE
Final roll call for fallen Marine comrades
Kaneohe's Marines pay their respects to 23 brothers in arms who died during their recent tour of duty in Iraq
NEARLY 1,000 Marines left Kaneohe for Iraq in September. Twenty-three of them would not return to fill yesterday morning's formation at the flight line at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe.
The final roll call was read yesterday for 22 Kaneohe Marines and one Navy corpsman who died during the latest deployment of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
To honor the fallen men, desert combat boots, Kevlar helmets, M-4 carbine rifles and their dog tags were placed in a line as their names were called.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A memorial service was held yesterday at Kaneohe's Marine Corps Base Hawaii to honor 23 troops with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment killed in Iraq. Lance Cpl. June Gary, left, Lance Cpl. Shawn Layton and Lance Cpl. Matthew Brown paid their respects. CLICK FOR LARGE
More than 120 family members of the 23 fallen Marines and sailor attended the memorial service. Some of them also participated in Monday's Hawaii Medal of Honor ceremony at the state Capitol.
Among them was Erica Booth, the widow of 1st Lt. Joshua Booth. At her side was her 3-month-old son, Tristan, who will never get to see his father. Lt. Booth was killed on Oct. 17 by a sniper -- just a month after arriving in Iraq.
Coping with Tristan and 20-month-old Grace is a matter of "getting by -- day by day -- trying to be the best mother I can be," Erica Booth said.
She and her husband had moved to the islands last April. She was seven months pregnant with Tristan when he was killed. "He always wanted to be a Marine ever since he was a kid," she said.
Harry Chaires, father of Lance Cpl. Daniel Chaires, who was killed on Oct. 25, called on politicians to stop playing politics with the lives of troops in Iraq.
He said that Democrats and Republicans in Congress should end their partisan battles over the course of the war. "This is not the time to abandon our young men and women," he said.
Chaires, who also served in the Marine Corps for eight years after the Korean War, said he stopped watching television after his son was killed because "of all the rhetoric that was going on, and this needs to stop."
"We need to stand united. This is not the time to get weak-kneed."
He said he is constantly reminded of his son as he walks around his small farm 10 miles east of Tallahassee, Fla. "Everywhere I look there is a chinning bar that he put in the trees or in the barn to prepare himself to go to Paris Island so he could be the best Marine."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Among the mourners were Weena Ny, left, who lost her son, Lance Cpl. James Chamroeun; her daughter, Rebecca Chamroeun; and Margaret and James Lompa, who lost their son, Pfc. Christopher Riviere. CLICK FOR LARGE
Daniel Chaires is buried on that farm. "I have a great pleasure of going and sitting every day and reflecting and talking to him."
Lt. Col. James Donnellan, who commands the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, told the somber crowd about the seven-month Iraqi deployment. His Marines immediately came under fire, as soon as they assumed control of the Sunni stronghold portion of Al Anbar province in the "triad region" that includes the cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana.
The area is populated by "Islamic extremists who would stop at nothing ... to establish an Islamic state in the Al Anbar province," he said
The Marine leader said that when his Island Warriors battalion arrived in September, "the area had exploded in violence at a level not seen since the fall of the previous regime. There was no functioning government, no reconstruction projects, and the community leaders had all gone into hiding."
When the Kaneohe Marines left Iraq last week, Donnellan said, they had helped to develop the Iraqi police in the triad from a force of 15 to more than 200 who now patrol the streets.
This was the 2nd Battalion's second combat tour. In June 2005 the unit was sent to Afghanistan. Four Kaneohe Marines died there.
The 22 Kaneohe Marines and one Navy corpsman who died during the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment's latest deployment to Iraq were, according to the U.S. Marine program:
» Pfc. Christopher Riviere, 21, of Cooper City, Fla. (Aug. 8, 1985-Sept. 26, 2006): "The type of person that liked to make you laugh." Hobbies included hiking, camping and fishing.
» Lance Cpl. James Chamroeun, 20, of Union City, Ga. (Dec. 29, 1985-Sept. 28, 2006): Radio operator who also fought in Afghanistan.
» Cpl. Derek W. Jones, 21, of Salem, Ore. (July 17, 1985-Oct. 8, 2006): "Devoted husband and father as well as dedicated and hard-working Marine."
» Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Sandvick Monroe, 20, of Chinook, Mont. (July 13, 1986-Oct. 8, 2006): Arabic linguist. Loved to play the guitar and wanted to form a band.
» 1st Lt. Joshua L. Booth, 23, of Fiskdale, Mass. (May 20, 1983-Oct. 17, 2006): "Determined leader, and his platoon always led the toughest missions."
» Pvt. Edwardo J. Lopez, 21, of Aurora, Ill. (Nov. 28, 1984-Oct. 19, 2006): "Devoted to his family, especially to his mother and his younger brother."
» Lance Cpl. Daniel B. Chaires, 20, of Tallahassee, Fla. (May 26, 1986-Oct. 25, 2006): Always dreamed about being a Marine.
» Lance Cpl. Donald S. Brown, 19, of Succasunna, N.J. (Feb. 2, 1987-Oct. 25, 2006): Loved martial arts; planned to attend college.
» Lance Cpl. Timothy W. Brown, 21, of Carmichael, Calif. (April 17, 1985-Nov. 14, 2006): Was on his first Iraqi deployment.
» Lance Cpl. Michael D. Scholl, 21, of Lincoln, Neb. (May 28, 1985-Nov. 14, 2006): Machine-gunner who leaves behind wife Melisa and daughter Addison Rose.
» Lance Cpl. Mario D. Gonzalez, 21, of La Puente, Calif. (Feb. 5, 1985-Nov. 14, 2006): Served as a rifleman in Afghanistan.
» Lance Cpl. James Davenport, 20, of Danville, Ind. (Dec. 31, 1985-Nov. 22, 2006): "A Marine who enjoyed the opportunity to contribute."
» Pvt. Heath Warner, 19, of Canton, Ohio (Jan. 2, 1987-Nov. 22, 2006): "A very reserved but caring Marine." Hobbies included learning foreign languages, reading and board games.
» Lance Cpl. Joshua Alonzo, 21, of Moore, Texas (Nov. 2, 1985-Nov. 22, 2006): "A Marine who was well respected and always entertaining." Enjoyed video games, the night life and visiting his sister.
» Lance Cpl. Jeromy West, 20, of Aguanaga, Calif. (Sept. 21, 1986-Nov. 25, 2006): "Proved himself in combat as one that was loyal and trustworthy towards his fellow Marines."
» Lt. Col. J.T. McCloud, 40, of Wayne, Mich. (Dec, 14, 1966-Dec. 3, 2006): "A determined Marine, he would always accept the most challenging mission."
» Cpl. Joshua Sticklen, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va. (Nov. 3, 1982-Dec. 3, 2006): An intelligence specialist who served in South Korea and Afghanistan.
» Lance Cpl. Matthew W. Clark, 22, of St. Louis (Aug. 11, 1984-Dec. 14, 2006): "I believe in a modern understanding and application of virtue, that compilation of attributes that make up masculinity. Strength, mental or physical, honesty and morality are just a few of the attributes that drive my life."
» Cpl. Stephen Morris, 21, of Lake Jackson, Texas (July 2, 1985-Dec. 24, 2006): "Loved to surf and live carefree."
» Gunnery Sgt. Terry J. Elliott, 34, of Middleton, Tenn. (June 19,1972-Feb. 1, 2007): During his 15 years in the Marine Corps, he was deployed to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma, Albania, Congo and Zaire.
» Hospitalman Matthew G. Conte, 22, of Mogadore, Ohio (March 29, 1984-Feb. 1, 2007): "He proved himself as a corpsman that could be depended upon on a moment's notice."
» Lance Cpl. Daniel T. Morris, 19, of Crimora, Va. (Sept. 22, 1987-Feb. 14, 2007): Nicknamed the "Mouse," he enjoyed taking pictures, movies, talking to people. "His positive image was contagious throughout the company."
» Lance Cpl. Anthony Aguirre, 20, of Channelview, Texas (March 21, 1986-Feb. 26, 2007): His hobbies included surfing, fishing, taking pictures, listening to music and playing around on his computer.