APRA HARBOR, Guam -- More than 2100 Marines and Sailors of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) gathered on the flight deck of USS PELELIU (LHA 5) Feb. 19 to pay their respects to Cpl. Adam S. Lipford, a tanker from Battalion Landing Team 1/1, who died Feb. 17 during the MEU’s port visit to Guam.
Following several prayers and a song, LtCol. Brian Beaudreault, BLT 1/1 commanding officer, addressed the assembly on a balmy Pacific morning and spoke of a meritorious Marine who served as an outstanding example for his fellow Marines and excelled during the 13th MEU’s WestPac deployment in such places as Iraq, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
“The BLT is a richer unit for having Adam Lipford in our ranks,” said Beaudreault. “He was loyal, respectful, dedicated and generous. He was the type of Marine that makes this job rewarding each and every day, a Marine that asks for so little, yet gave so much.”
During the ceremony, Lipford was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal he had earned for outstanding performance as a squad leader in Kenya in January. As the USS PELELIU, USS OGDEN and USS GERMANTOWN departed the harbor today, each ship laid a memorial wreath in the water.
1stLt. James Kozel, B Co., 3rd Tank platoon commander, said he could think of no better Marine with whom to have the privilege to serve.
“As far as being a Marine goes, as far as being a tanker, as far as everything we know (about him), absolutely he’s head and shoulders above the rest, one of the best Devil Dogs I’ve had the privilege to serve with in my career.”
Kozel spoke of cold, wet nights in the field during workups and the deployment, saying Lipford would cheer and entertain his platoon with tales of crawfish-eating back in his native Louisiana.
“He kept the whole platoon going, and he was the glue that held us all together. Adam will be in our hearts and in our minds forever in Third Platoon.”
Lipford died when the M1A1 tank he was riding in fell off a U.S. Navy LCAC and sank in Apra Harbor as it was being transported from the tank washdown site to the GERMANTOWN. His body was recovered and will be escorted back to Louisiana by members of his platoon. The ships of Expeditionary Strike Group One are on their way back to the United States and are scheduled to return to southern California around mid-March.
In his closing remarks, Beaudreault recounted an instance from the Guam port visit in which he and Lipford had the opportunity to spend some time together on the pier on liberty after the day’s work had been done.
“I thank him for that memory and for many others from our time together in UAE. Adam will be sorely missed.”