Gunner, Marine, Friend Remembered
(June 24, 2011)
BASE DASH, Helmand province, Afghanistan (6/21/2011) -- Marines
and sailors from Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, paid
tribute to the life and service of Lance Cpl. Sean M. O'Connor during a
memorial service at Patrol Base Dash, Sangin, Afghanistan, June 21. |
O'Connor was killed in action June 12 on a foot patrol while
conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Sangin. The
Oceanside, Calif., native was an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon machine
gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company A.
The SAW gunner moved to
Douglas, Wyo., where he graduated from Douglas High School in May of
2007. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to Marine Corps
Recruit Depot San Diego just one week later. Upon graduation he reported
to Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West.
being assigned to 1/5, O'Connor was assigned to Color Guard Plt.,
Company A, Marine Barracks 8th and I. As a member of the Color Guard, he
performed more than 150 ceremonies and funerals.
When he arrived
to the operating forces, 3rd Platoon Marines remembered the fallen hero
as being very straight forward with people, always eager to lend a hand
and always striving for self improvement.
“I remember when Lance
Cpl. O'Connor first met me. He was so motivated to be in 3rd Plt.,
Company A, 1/5,” said Lance Cpl. Francisco N. Navarro, a team leader for
3rd Plt. “He tried to prove to me that he could be trusted and relied
As with every newcomer, the platoon tasked him to
determine if they could count on him and trust him, said Navarro, from
San Bernardino, Calif. O'Connor exceeded their expectations and quickly
became recognized as the type of Marine that would do anything for a
fellow Marine regardless of rank.
Lance Cpl. Samuel L. Henderickson,
an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon machine gunner for 3rd Platoon,
Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, places the rifle
as part of the battlefield memorial during a memorial service
for Lance Cpl. Sean M. O'Connor at Patrol Base Dash, Afghanistan
on June 21, 2011. The Marines of 1/5 paid tribute to the life
and service of O'Connor, also an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon
machine gunner with 3rd Plt., Company A.
“I remember one time on a field op exercise I went down as a
casualty. He picked me up with all my gear on and carried me to
the pickup site,” said Navarro. “That was just the type of
Marine Lance Cpl. O'Connor was – a Marine, a friend and someone
you can count on.”
O'Connor showed this same level of
dedication to everyone he met without so much as a single
complaint, said Cpl. Nicholas J. Rinchuso, a team leader for 3rd
Plt. He was able to identify problems and did what he had to in
order to solve with minimal guidance from others.
the first Marine I met from my fire team and right off the bat I
knew he was someone I could count on. He started off by saying,
‘Good morning Corporal, I am Lance Cpl. O'Connor and if you need
anything done just say the word,'” said Rinchuso, from
Indianapolis, Ind. “He would help me out when there was a lot on
my plate. The little things I missed he would pick up on and
execute without so much as a word from me.”
chaplain's remarks to the Marines gathered talked about how
everyone is on borrowed time
O'Connor showed the world his devotion and love for his fellow
Marine. O'Connor had extended his contract to be able to deploy
with 1/5 and be there for his brothers in arms.
in all that life had to offer and was not shy about it,” said
Lt. David D. Kim, the chaplain for 1/5, from Mineola, N.Y. “He
knew what he wanted to do and what he was born to do. He
extended his time in order to make this deployment.
O'Connor's ability to serve others, take care of them without
complaint and his attitude toward his fellow man will be missed
as 3rd Platoon finishes up their deployment without him there to
lend a hand.
His personal awards include the Purple
Heart , the Combat Action Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct
Medal and two Letters of Appreciation.
Article and photo By USMC Cpl. Benjamin Crilly
Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division
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