CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - One by one, the Marines rose as their
names were called. They stood rigid in a sea of bowed heads
and khaki uniforms, waiting for two of their own.
Four Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics
Group pay their respects to two fallen comrades during a memorial
service aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 22, 2103. Cpl. Christopher
M. Monahan Jr. and Lance Cpl. Dale W. Means, motor transportation
operators with the battalion, who were killed while providing
tactical logistics support to units serving in Helmand province,
Afghanistan, November 2012. US. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl.
The servicemembers with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd
Marine Logistics Group remained silent as the names of Cpl.
Christopher M. Monahan Jr. and Lance Cpl. Dale W. Means
echoed over the memorial ceremony here, Feb. 22.
call went out three times, and three times the room remained
in a breathless hush. A volley of rifle fire cracked over
the bay outside, ending the silence as a bugle played the
slow, mournful melody of “Taps.”
Monahan and Means
were killed in Helmand province, Afghanistan, November 2012
while supporting tactical logistics operations.
“There is little I can say that will alleviate the pain of
those closest to them,” said Lt. Col. Denise M. Mull, the
commanding officer of the battalion, as she addressed the
fallen Marines' families and friends. “These two Marines
followed their hearts. They knew the dangers they were
undertaking. Dale and Chris' passing is a tragedy.”
They died doing what they loved, and the tragedy of their
deaths was also proof of their dedication to a greater
calling, said Mull, who later took a moment to place her
hands on the memorial set up for the Marines.
rifle, helmet and pair of boots stood in quiet tribute for
both of the men. Monahan and Means' dog tags hung from their
weapons – a testament to the battalion's loss.
that day, we began the rest of our lives with something
missing,” said 1st. Lt. Ross Campbell, Monahan's platoon
commander with Transportation Support Company, CLB-2. “I
find myself looking over my shoulder often, expecting to
find him there; only to realize, our reality remains
unchanged. This hole will never be filled.”
a native of Toms River, N.J., and Means, a native of
Burnsville, Minn., served as motor transportation operators
and turret gunners operating near Camp Leatherneck,
“Dale deserves more than a speech, more
than a memorial ceremony,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Schlottmann,
Means' platoon commander with Transportation Support Co.
“Dale Means deserves exactly what he gave – everything.
“He never let us down.”
A common virtue emerged
as the Marines shared their memories of Monahan and Means.
The two Marines remained positive even under harsh
circumstances, and they put their fellow Marines in front of
their own interests.
“I've seen him give his face
mask to one of his guys on a dusty convoy,” said Staff Sgt.
Gordon Lunna, Monahan's platoon sergeant. “That's how he
was. If he had it and you needed it, it was yours.”
The battalion returned to Camp Lejeune near the end of
January after spending nearly seven months supporting
International Security Assistance Force. Hundreds of the
unit's personnel disembarked from buses on the base's
streets, where they were reunited with their families and
The scene was a celebration, but the memory
of the missing Marines followed the unit home from its
“It has affected us personally and
intimately in ways we are just beginning to understand,”
said Sgt. Adam Virosztko, the platoon sergeant for 4th
Platoon, Transportation Support Co. “Everyone being here
doesn't make it ok, and everyone being here doesn't undo
anything that has happened. What it does do is allow us to
grieve, remember, laugh and cry together.”
row of Marines and sailors drained into the center aisle and
filed to the front of the room. They knelt in groups before
the helmets of their fallen peers, reached out their hands,
and grasped Monahan and Means' dog tags one last time.
More photos available in frame below
By USMC Cpl. Paul Peterson
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