CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Mercado Memorial was unveiled during a ceremony held in honor of Lance Cpl. Raul Mercado, a Monrovia, Calif., native, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 19, 2010.
Mercado, who served as a basic refrigeration mechanic with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, was killed Jan. 7, 2006, while attached to Combat Logistics Battalion 8, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device during unit’s deployment to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from August 2005 to January 2006. He was the only Marine from the battalion who was killed-in-action throughout the unit’s three rotations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s been four years since his passing,” said Sgt. Jeremias Orden, utilities tool room noncommissioned officer, Engineer Maintenance Company, 2nd Maint. Bn. “Yet we still continue to remember and admire his dedication, accomplishments and his contribution to the Corps.”
Orden met Mercado when both arrived to the fleet, following completion of their military occupational specialty school. They remained friends and were looking forward to their first deployment to Iraq.
According to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charles L. Wolfe, Engineer Maintenance Company Commander, Mercado was assigned to 2nd Maint. Bn. and immediately volunteered for deployment.
Orden remembers the deployment as being unforgettable as they continued to strengthen their bond of being brothers-in-arms as they served side-by-side throughout the scheduled seven-month deployment.
“He was one of the senior lance corporals who took care of me when I was new to the fleet,” said Orden. “He became a mentor to me.”
But along with being a good Marine, Mercado was an even better friend, he said.
“There were a lot of things I can remember,” said Orden. “He would bring his own hot sauce to chow every time, and we would call him ‘Bob the Builder’ because of his carpentry skills.”
If Mercado wasn’t building a mouse trap, he’d be building a chair. That’s how creative he was, added Orden.
He loved telling jokes and pulling pranks on people, but he wasn’t a comedian all the time; he was known for having a good work ethic as well.
“He often helped other sections with their maintenance,” Orden said. “He would ask Marines if they needed help and if they did, he would lend a hand.”
As the ceremony drew to an end, none of the Marines and sailors who were in attendance left the memorial. Even though it’s been four years since Mercado’s death, the Marines and sailors with 2nd Maint. Bn. have kept the memory of one of their own strong as they continue to honor his selfless service and legacy he has left embedded with all who knew him.