BLT 2/1 remembers fallen on Thanksgiving

24 Nov 2005 | Cpl. Andy Hurt

In a somber ceremony following three weeks of intense fighting near the Syrian border, the Marines of Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines held a ceremony to honor eight warriors who gave their lives for their country. The ceremony was held in the early afternoon hours of Thanksgiving Day, more commonly known as a time when American families come together to show appreciation for their blessings throughout the year. For BLT 2/1, the day will stand forever as a day of remembrance of the dedication that makes our country, and the Marine Corps, great. “The loss of these Marines irreplaceable,” said Capt. Ross A. Parrish, Commander, Company F, BLT 2/1. Parrish praised the heroes, who died in the pursuit of saving their brothers’ lives, as “selfless” individuals, who “understood the meaning of honor and service.” “They are heroes in our eyes and our hearts,” he said. Parrish then read a poem found in the wallet of 1st Lt. Donald McGlothlin, a platoon commander with Company F, BLT 2/1, entitled “Don’t Quit.” It was a poem that McGlothlin read during his valedictorian speech in front of his high school graduating class. Following Parrish, Lt. Col. Robert Oltman, commander, BLT 2/1, offered his thoughts on holding a memorial service on Thanksgiving Day. He said that some people may have raised doubts about the appropriateness of the chosen date for the service. “In my heart, I feel the contrary,” Oltman started, “What better way to show our appreciation for these Marines?” Oltman also dedicated a few moments of his speech to Maj. Ramon Mendoza, Jr., the former commander of Company E, BLT 2/1, who was killed by an improvised explosive device shortly after crossing the line of departure into the battle of Ubaydi. Oltman read a eulogy from Mendoza’s head wrestling coach from Ohio State University, Russ Hellickson. Oltman then expressed how, in the wake of the heroic sacrifices made by Mendoza, McGlothlin, Cpl. John M. Longoria, Cpl. Jeffrey A. Rodgers, Cpl. Joshua J. Ware, Lance Cpl. Roger W. Deeds, Lance Cpl. John A. Lucente and Lance Cpl. Christopher M. McCrackin, the battalion will push on. “Every one of these Marines would have wanted us to continue on and finish what we started,” he said. “Our work here is not done.” According to Oltman, the unit will continue to make preparations for their mission for the upcoming democratic elections. “This is a sad reminder that our enemy has a vote,” Oltman said, “but I promise you, as commander of this battalion, I will ensure (the enemy) vote doesn’t count.”
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit