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By USMC LCpl. Andrew Johnston

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2nd Battalion, 9th Marines Honor Fallen Machine Gunner
(September 25, 2010)

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USMC Cpl. John C. BishopHELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Marines and sailors with 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, gathered to remember Cpl. John C. Bishop (photo left), a machine gunner with Echo Company, 2/9, Sept. 16, during a memorial service in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Bishop gave the ultimate sacrifice during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Sept. 8.

Capt. Charles E. Anklam, commanding officer for Echo Company, took the podium to memorialize the life and accomplishments of the company's departed machine gunner. Anklam credited weapons Marines, such as Bishop, for often doing more than asked to get a job accomplished.

“He was mentally and physically tough and always carried more than his share of the load,” said Anklam. “But moreover, as a man, he was the type of person his fellow Marines gravitated to.”

Because of his maturity and ability to effectively lead, Bishop was chosen to be a team leader, an appointment that is uncommon for machine gunners, said Anklam.

“He exhibited the traits and professionalism that instill in his Marines the utmost in trust ... and superb confidence from his leaders,” said Anklam. “To say that he demonstrated the qualities that Marines both junior and senior should emulate would be a gross understatement.”

During the memorial service, service members who served alongside Bishop got a chance to pay their respects. One after another, fellow comrades wept at the podium, describing the man in intimate detail.

“To many, Cpl. Bishop was a friend, but to me, he was more of a father figure,”said Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. Buckle, a machine gunner with 2/9. “No matter what the situation was, he always stood up for the junior Marines. He taught us everything we ought to know about being a good Marine, machine gunner and infantryman. He really took the time to know his Marines.”

Cpl. Joseph N. Musulin, a mortarman with the company and a close friend of Bishop, mournfully remembered their friendship. Both men had families. Their children played together, and Bishop had a lovely wife, Musulin recalled.

Musulin expounded on how much he wanted to emulate Bishop's leadership skill and ability to balance his career and family.

“Today when I think of John Bishop, I think of a quote that is inscribed in the First Marine Division cross,” said Musulin to the crowd. “'Iron sharpens iron as man sharpens man.' When I think of it today, it has a whole new meaning because Cpl. Bishop truly lived that quote.”

Close by, as an American and a Marine Corps flag rippled in the steady breeze, a group of Marines stood at attention waiting for the command to perform a 21-gun salute. The attending Marines stood in reverent silence as a recording of “Amazing Grace” resounded.

The detail raised their rifles and fired rounds into the sky, giving the fallen warrior a final and honorable farewell.
By USMC LCpl. Andrew Johnston
Regimental Combat Team 1
Copyright 2010

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