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Family, friends, Marines and sailors bow their heads and close their eyes for a moment of silence during a ceremony in the Protestant Chapel aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 17, 2010, to honor five Marines of 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, who gave their lives while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom from February 2008 to February 2010. Marines took turns speaking on behalf of the fallen Marines as the many family members, friends and service members listened to stories and experiences that were shared amongst the Marines of 2nd EOD Co.

Photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Franklin E. Mercado

Marine EOD community honors fallen fathers, husbands, sons

14 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Franklin E. Mercado, 2nd Marine Logistics Group Public Affairs

Second Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, held a memorial service at the Protestant Chapel here, May 17, to honor five of their own who made the ultimate sacrifice while supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom from February 2008 to February 2010.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ricky L. Richardson Jr., Master Sgt. Adam F. Benjamin, Gunnery Sgt. David S. Spicer, Gunnery Sgt. Christopher W. Eckard and Staff Sgt. Mark A. Wojciechowski were killed in action while operating in Anbar Province, Iraq or Helmand Province, Afghanistan - two of the most notoriously violent areas U.S. forces have operated in since the War on Terrorism began nearly nine years ago.

Family, friends, Marines and sailors flooded the Protestant Chapel to attend the service and listen to close friends and fellow Marines read personal reflections in honor of their fallen brothers-in-arms.

“Losing one person in the fight may not be a lot in the big picture,” said Lt. Col. William J. Truax, the commanding officer of 8th ESB. “But it feels like 100 if that one is yours.”

Solemnly, individual Marines walked up to the lectern and spoke of their experiences and time spent with each of the Marines being memorialized during the event.

“These names are only names to some of you,” said Truax. “But they mean a lot more to the rest of us.”

Each Marine expressed their feelings and told their stories as family members of the fallen Marines listened.

They told stories about deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, time spent at the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal and reflected on the responsibilities they accepted when they reenlisted and chose to become EOD technicians.

“We all know the risk of this job,” said Capt. Timothy Callahan, who served as the 2nd EOD Company Commander from July 2007 to May 2010. “But these men were among the few to accept that risk because it has meaning.”

Marines join the military occupation specialty fully aware of what dangers they are expected to face, but are consoled by the thought that they are helping save the lives of their fellow Marines, Callahan continued.

“Marines such as the five we honor today chose this job,” said Callahan. “They chose to be the ones who are called on to handle, disarm and dispose of a weapon that is wounding so many of our Marines.”

Callahan also mentioned the many dangers and risks that encompass this job, adding that despite these factors, the men honored during the memorial service accepted the perils and embraced the challenges, earning the EOD pin they wear on their chest.

With the amount of family, friends, Marines and sailors who filled the seats, aisles and walk ways for the service, there is no doubt about the mark these Marines left on their community, the Marine Corps and their country.

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