Small Town Roots Grows Humble Hero
(May 14, 2011)
|NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY INDIAN HEAD, MD (MCN - 5/11/2011) —
Sgt. Jeremy C. Lattimer grew up in the quiet town of
Ashtabula, Ohio a far cry from the battle hardened Helmand
Province in Afghanistan. |
Nevertheless, from a young
age it was apparent that Lattimer had a passion for the
military with a mindset that would benefit not only him but
also the Marines he would one day lead and earn him the
Bronze Star with combat
distinguishing device, the fourth highest award given for
acts of bravery.
“Jeremy had convinced me to buy him
a pack of those little toy soldiers you can get for 99
cents,” said Mrs. Julie Lattimer, the mother of Sgt.
Lattimer. “While we were visiting his aunt, I found him off
in a room concentrating so hard while he was playing with
his little army men I had to ask him why he was being so
Lattimer then explained a very detailed and
elaborate strategy to his mother about the attacks and
counters the two groups would go through as they fought one
another on their imaginary battlefield.
wanted to be in the military,” said Mrs. Lattimer. “It was
just a matter of what branch.” Lattimer said he had an idea
though, from the pictures of his uncles in dress blues his
grandmother had in her house, but a single day sealed his
decision – Sept. 11, 2001. Lattimer, only 15 when the towers
fell, was then on a mission. As soon as he turned 17, he
found a Marine Corps recruiter to enter the Delayed Entry
Program. However, it was not that easy for his mother who
signed the parental consent form.
“We prayed about
it a lot, but we knew it was what Jeremy wanted to do,” said
Mrs. Lattimer. “I let (our children) make their own
decisions and I try my best to fully support them.”
Not long after graduating from Lakeside High School,
Lattimer left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
He graduated basic training Sept. 8, 2004 and went to the
School of Infantry to become a 0311, a rifleman.
After three deployments, Lattimer found himself on his way
to Afghanistan as a squad leader.
“He is the best
squad leader I have had the opportunity to work with,” said
Hospitalman Jerrod Francis, general duty corpsman, branch
medical clinic, Camp Johnson, who was the senior platoon
corpsman in Lattimer's squad. “Before we even deployed he
was reading every book he could on Afghanistan and combat
tactics. He studied constantly; no one I know has put as
much effort into a deployment as he does.”
constant studying was not the only thing that made Lattimer
stand out to his squad. Lattimer was known for his humility
and constantly taking care of his Marines.
didn't want anything better than what his guys got,” said
Francis. “We ate first, we showered first, and we slept
first. If at any time he was given praise he would instantly
make it known it was because of the efforts of his squad not
His dedication to his squad, their
success, and his unrelenting desire to lead Marines
culminated on two different occasions in Helmand Province.
During the month of November, while patrolling a
particularly volatile area of Helmand Province, an enemy
force ambushed Lattimer and his squad, trapping them under
heavy machinegun fire.
Thanks to the Ohio native's
quick and decisive judgment, Lattimer was able to maneuver
his squad out of the ambush and come to the assistance of a
nearby squad, also hit by the ambush. The other squad had
two injured Marines in need of urgent medical care.
To insure the wounded Marines were evacuated as quickly and
safely as possible, he called for close air support on the
enemy's firing position while positioning his squad to
provide security to protect the medical evacuation aircraft.
Lattimer then personally assisted carrying a “Fallen Angel,”
what the Marine Corps calls a Marine who has made the
ultimate sacrifice in battle, to the aircraft while under
After all was said and done, the Marines
returned to their base camp with heavy hearts.
is so eerily quiet when you get back after losing someone,”
said Lattimer. “Once one guy loses it and breaks down, and
everyone follows. It was hard to fight that hard and still
lose a friend.”
Despite the pain of losing Marines,
the mission does not stop and neither did Lattimer and his
Less than a month later as Lattimer and his
squad were patrolling, he noticed a group of insurgents
firing on an adjacent squad and that one of the insurgents
was injured. Knowing how valuable information from a
captured enemy could be, Lattimer charged through 400 meters
of open fields disregarding the onslaught of enemy fire.
Coordinating with close air support helped him navigate to
and capture the injured insurgent.
“We are very
proud of Jeremy, though not surprised about what he did,”
said Mrs. Lattimer. “He has always had the courage to step
up and do the right thing. He is kind, loyal, and honest.
There are not too many people who are the entire package
By USMC Sgt. Frances L. Goch|
Chemical/Biological Incident Response Force
Marine Corps News
Comment on this article
Bronze Star Recipients |