The sun has risen and set on 15 combat deployments for 3rd Marine Regiment since 2004. In that time, 3rd Regiment has covered the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Northern Afghanistan, the streets of Fallujah and the valleys of Helmand Province. The Marines and Sailors of 1st Battalion, the Lava Dogs; 2nd Battalion, the Island Warriors; and 3rd Battalion, America's Battalion; have laced up their combat boots in the heat and cold to go to work protecting and preserving the life we hold so dear. And more than that, they've laced up those boots to offer that life to another, less fortunate people.
Since October 30, 2004, when Lance Corporal Jeremy Bow, a machine gunner of 1st Battalion, was lost as a result of a car bomb outside Fallujah in Iraq's Anbar Province, 3rd Marine Regiment has seen the loss of 116 Marines and Sailors. He is credited as the first casualty for the Regiment in support of overseas contingency operations however he is actually one of eight. Eight men lost their lives as a result of that car bomb on October 30th. It was considered the deadliest attack in 6 months against the U.S. Military. Those other 7 men? They are PFC John Lucka, LCpl John Byrd, PFC Andrew Riedel, LCpl Jeremy Bow, LCpl Michael Scarborough, LCpl Travis Fox, Cpl Christoper Lapka and Sgt Kelley Courtney who was with 3rd Intelligence Battalion attached to 1/3.
To honor and draw attention to the sacrifice of these Marines and Sailors, 3rd Marine Regiment organized a memorial run this past week. Each runner stepped up to receive a fallen hero's dogtag and began a run of 2 miles for the loss of that man. Those 2 miles were ran 116 times while carrying the 3rd Marine Regiment flag. These Marines and Sailors ran in daytime heat and nighttime chill out of respect for fallen brothers they may or may not have ever met. Respect that was well deserved. This Regiment who isn't perfect, who makes mistakes, and who is just a collection of men who made the same decision to fight for what they believe is right, made a statement this week.
A statement that said they will not forget. Let's not forget them either.