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Patriotic Article
Military
By Marine Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

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2nd LAR Remembers Fallen Brothers
(May 9, 2009)

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 Twenty-one Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, draped dog tags on a soldier’s cross during a memorial service, here, April 29, to represent the 21 Marines from 2nd LAR who died in support of Operations Just Cause, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The memorial was unveiled the day before Marines from 2nd LAR deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Twenty-one Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, draped dog tags on a soldier's cross during a memorial service, here, April 29, to represent the 21 Marines from 2nd LAR who died in support of Operations Just Cause, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The memorial was unveiled the day before Marines from 2nd LAR deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
 

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (5/4/2009)

Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, may have lost some of their brothers, but will never forget their sacrifice.

The battalion unveiled a granite memorial April 29, which displays the names of 21 fallen brothers from Operations Just Cause, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In their honor, the slab is seated into the earth in front of the of the battalion's command post.

One of those names is Lance Cpl. John Mattek. Mattek was killed, June 13, 2005, but the Antigo, Wis. native's memory lives on forever with his family and comrades.

“It's very comforting knowing that he's not forgotten,” said Mrs. Marsha Mattek, his mother. “It's been almost five years since Johnny died, and his loss is always with us, but it helps us realize his loss is with all of them. It proves what a strong bond the Marine family is. We have the same memories, the same feelings and the same respect for his sacrifice.”

The idea for a memorial began in the 1980's and was renewed in 2004 when Capt. Robert F. May, former

executive officer, Company D, 2nd LAR, lost Marines in Fallujah and remembered a memorial he saw while assigned to 3rd LAR.
“When I was a lance corporal, I saw a memorial that 3rd LAR had and it struck a chord with me,” he explained. “To look back and see the sacrifice and legacy we're required to uphold. I wanted to do the same here.”

May started the Delta Company, 2nd LAR Memorial Fund under the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation and was able to raise $10,000 dollars for the granite memorial.

The memorial was unveiled the day before Marines from 2nd LAR deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Lt. Col. Thomas E. Gratten III, battalion commander, said it was important before deployment to remember those who have fought before and the sacrifice they have made.
Sgt. Maj. Luke T. Converse, battalion sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Thomas E. Gratten, battalion commander, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, unveil a granite memorial engraved with the names of 21 Marines who died in support of Operations Just Cause, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The memorial was unveiled the day before Marines from 2nd LAR deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Gratten said it was important before deployment to remember those who have fought before and the sacrifice they have made.
Sgt. Maj. Luke T. Converse, battalion sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Thomas E. Gratten, battalion commander, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, unveil a granite memorial engraved with the names of 21 Marines who died in support of Operations Just Cause, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The memorial was unveiled the day before Marines from 2nd LAR deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Gratten said it was important before deployment to remember those who have fought before and the sacrifice they have made.

“It is appropriate that as 2nd LAR Battalion stands again on the eve of battle in support of operations in Afghanistan, that we pause to recognize those who have gone before,” he said. “I consider this ceremony essential, prior to our departure, in that as we pay homage to our fallen, we remember with renewed purpose why we stand. As 2nd LAR Battalion prepares to deploy again in the fight against terrorism, it remembers its fallen, beholden to the examples they have set and dedicated anew to a free way of life which they fought to preserve. We will continue the fight.”

Article and photos by Marine Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas
II MEF
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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