Marines Remember Fallen Cobra Pilots in Afghanistan August 5, 2010 - By 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd) Public Affairs (Video of memorial service below article)
CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan – An estimated 1,000 military personnel gathered in a hangar here Aug. 2 to remember two 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) helicopter pilots who made the ultimate sacrifice.
They were 3rd MAW (FWD)'s first casualties since the unit arrived in March; two veteran pilots who made significant contributions to country and Corps through individual careers.
Lt. Col. Michael Moore, commanding officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, addresses the crowd during a memorial service Aug. 2, 2010 honoring two pilots who died in combat July 22, 2010. Maj. James "Weasel" Weis, a pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, and Lt. Col. Mario "Sugar Bear" Carazo, the future plans officer for 3rd MAW (FWD), were supporting ground troops in contact with enemy forces when they died.Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Steven Williams
Lt. Col. Mario “Sugar Bear” Carazo and Maj. James “Weasel” Weis, were both AH-1W Cobra pilots and veterans of wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They died together in combat while flying a mission in support of ground troops who were in contact with enemy forces in Helmand province, July 22.
Carazo, a 41-year-old Springfield, Ohio native, was commissioned in 1991 and had served two tours in Iraq. He arrived in Afghanistan in March and was serving 3rd MAW (FWD) as the Future Plans Officer. Carazo was a decorated Marine whose awards included the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Weis, a 37-year-old Toms River, N.J., native, was commissioned in 1996 and also served two tours in Iraq. He arrived in Afghanistan in May and was serving as the Operations Officer for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369. He was also a decorated Marine with awards including the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Individual Award) with combat “V”, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. He too leaves behind a wife and two children.
“I'll take with me that they did not go down without a fight,” Brig. Gen. Andrew O'Donnell Jr., the 3rd MAW (FWD) commanding general, told the crowd. “They were doing what they trained to do. They were doing what they wanted to do. They were taking the fight to the enemy in support of our brothers on the ground.”
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