CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan (1/24/2012) -- The Marines of Marine
Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 filled the pews of a small chapel at
Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to bid farewell to six fallen brothers,
Marines stand at attention as "Taps" is played at a memorial
ceremony at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Jan. 24., 2012 led by Sgt.
Maj. Mitchell Green, left, and Lt. Col. Mark Revor, center, the
sergeant major and commanding officer for Marine Heavy Helicopter
Squadron 363. The squadron held a ceremony to honor six Marines who
were killed when their CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter crashed
conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Jan.
19, 2012. Photo by USMC Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
In a somber scene, coalition forces
gathered to memorialize the six Marines with the squadron
who died when their CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy-lift
helicopter crashed supporting combat operations in Helmand
province, Afghanistan, Jan. 19.
During the ceremony's
final roll call, Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Green, the squadron's
sergeant major, called the names of the fallen – Capt.
Daniel B. Bartle, a native of Ferndale, Wash.; Capt. Nathan
R. McHone, from Crystal Lake, Ill.; Master Sgt. Travis
Riddick, a native of Centerville, Iowa; Cpl. Joseph D.
Logan, of Willis, Texas; Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard, from
Colonia, N.J.; and Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, who grew up in
Roxana, Ill., and Interlachen, Fla.
"It is difficult
to be here, easier to suppress our emotions and move on with
our daily routine,” said Lt. Col. Mark Revor, commanding
officer of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, in his
remarks at the ceremony. “It is difficult because they were
more than friends, more than family – they were our brothers
and our comrades.”
A few hundred yards from the
chapel, outside the squadron's hangar, the American flag
flew at half-staff beside the squadron's sign depicting
their logo, “The Lucky Red Lions.”
“It's hard to feel
lucky today, but I know that I could not describe [it]
better than to say I was lucky to serve with these men,
lucky to have known them as well as I did,” said Revor, “and
I will be lucky indeed if I can brighten the days and nights
of my friends the way that they brightened mine.”
squadron, deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe
Bay, Hawaii, wields CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters to
provide heavy-lift capability to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
(Forward), moving cargo and troops across the battlespace.
As the aviation combat element for the southwestern
regional command of NATO's International Security Assistance
Force, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) offers air support
for coalition forces operating in Helmand and Nimruz
While the Jan. 19 crash is currently
under investigation, NATO officials said there were no signs
of enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident.
“Every Marine in this squadron understands the dangers
of our job, but that doesn't make it any easier when
something like this happens,” Green said. “People are
shocked, people are upset and people are hurt. We still have
a mission to do, and it's not done until we're heading back
home to Hawaii.”
Photos of the fallen Marines
By USMC Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)
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