COMBAT OUTPOST TABAC, Afghanistan (7/11/2012) – On a somber
Sunday afternoon, more than 200 servicemembers gathered to honor
four fallen comrades during a memorial ceremony, July 8.
Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6,
paid tribute to Pfc. Steven P. Stevens II, Lance Cpl. Niall W. Coti-Sears,
Lance Cpl. Hunter D. Hogan and Lance Cpl. Eugene C. Mills III.
Marines prepare to place items to construct a field memorial, July 8, 2012. A helmet and dog tags are placed on an inverted rifle to signify a break in action and a time of prayer. Boots represent the Marines' last march. During the ceremony, Marines with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, paid tribute to Pfc. Steven P. Stevens II, Lance Cpl. Niall W. Coti-Sears, Lance Cpl. Hunter D. Hogan and Lance Cpl. Eugene C. Mills III. Stevens and Mills were killed in action June 22 while participating in Operation Jaws in the Sangin Valley District, Afghanistan. Hogan and Coti-Sears were killed in action the following day during the same operation. Stevens was a combat engineer with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion supporting Weapons Company. Coti-Sears
was a rifleman with Weapons Co. Hogan and Mills were riflemen with
Bravo Co. attached to Weapons Co. Photo by USMC Cpl. Mark Garcia
Stevens and Mills were killed in
action June 22 while participating in Operation Jaws in the
Sangin Valley District, Afghanistan.
Hogan and Coti-Sears
were killed in action the following day during the same
Stevens, from South Field, Mich., was a
combat engineer with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion
supporting Weapons Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines.
Coti-Sears, from Washington, D.C., was a rifleman with
Weapons Co., Hogan, from Brownstown, Ind., and Mills, from
Silver Spring, Md., were riflemen with Bravo Co., and
attached to Weapons Co., for the operation.
the ceremony, Marines placed a Kevlar helmet and
identification tags on an inverted rifle, signifying a time
of prayer and break in action to pay tribute. A pair of
boots in front of the rifle represented the Marines' last
The chaplain and battalion commander spoke of
the men and Marines that Stevens, Coti-Sears, Hogan and
“The shadow of grief that has been cast
over us is multiplied by such a great loss as to have four
of our brothers fall nearly at once,” said Navy Lt. Seanan
Holland, chaplain, 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “With the weight of
grief upon us, we gather to mourn. As Marines, we take up a
life of duty, not all of which is easy, and the Marines whom
we pay our respects to today made a commitment to be of
service to others. They choose no easy commitment. Theirs
was a deeper promise, a promise not just of service but also
of taking risks with their lives in order to be of service.”
Lieutenant Col. David Bradney, commanding officer, 1st
Bn., 7th Marines, said the Marines' sacrifice would not be
forgotten. The memorial service, he said, was a way for the
battalion's members to grieve and heal.
today to honor our fallen Marines, to pay our respects, to
share our grief and sorrow and to strengthen our bonds to
one another. Don't remember our fallen by their deaths but
by their lives and all that made them special to us.”
Holland said the four fallen Marines were men of
character, devotion and professionalism.
lost four Marines who loved and were loved deeply. We lost
Marines who we worked and played alongside, said Holland.
“Even as their gifts of music, ingenuity, perpetual good
cheer, athleticism and creative vision are lost to us, we
may be inspired by the memory of their courage and their
willingness to go first into harms way.”
More photos available in frame below
By USMC Cpl. Mark Garcia
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