AL ASAD, Iraq --
The deafening silence filling the room was broken when battalion chaplain, Navy Lt. David B. Thames, addressed the Marines of Kilo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, in a somber tone and welcomed all the guests to the memorial service for four of the battalions fallen heroes.
Honoring the memory and lives of Cpl. James H. Mcrae, Cpl. Matthew R. Zindars, Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, and Hospitalman Daniel S. Noble with words was not difficult, it was letting them go that troubled the Marines of Kilo Company.
“We all feel grief for losing them and we will miss those unique things that made them who they were,” said the battery commander, Capt. Michael G. Gaffney during the memorial service. “We are their brothers. It is our duty to make sure to remember how they lived their extraordinary lives. We should feel fortunate that we got to be a part of them.”
The Marines who were closest to the fallen service members spent time reflecting on their value as family and service members during the ceremony.
Cpl. McRae was remembered as an expert at his job who took pride as a motor transportation mechanic; he could repair and mend any vehicle damaged in combat. He was also known as a prankster with a classic smile who could make the most boring days enjoyable.
Cpl. Zindars who was devoted to his family and friends, was known as a wonderful storyteller and loved to take his friends along on unforgettable adventures. The artilleryman lived life with no regrets and let nothing stand in his way.
Lance Cpl. Lynch joined the Marine Corps not just for the experience, but to be a genuine Marine. He put others before himself and his enthusiasm ensured he was always learning how to be the best Marine possible. The heavy equipment operator led his Marines spiritually as a lay leader, leading his Marines in prayer before each mission.
“Doc” Noble was a fast learner who quickly became proficient as a corpsman. As a corpsman the title Doc must be earned. Noble accomplished this quickly because he was always right behind his Marines. He was selfless and always wore a smile on his face.
The Marines and Sailor were part of Kilo Battery’s 1st Platoon. They conducted operations under the command of 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, Task Force Military Police. They provided convoy security for service members, third country nationals transporting goods and Iraqi forces conducting missions.
Once the service members shared memories and reflected on the lives of their fallen brothers, the guests were invited to sing the hymn “Eternal Father.”
After the final roll call sounded and the rifle salute resonated throughout the room, the Marines from the battalion and guests had the opportunity to mourn the fallen and pay their last respects.
“As we go forward we resolve to never forget Cpl. McRae, Cpl. Zindars, Lance Cpl. Lynch and Hospitalman Noble,” said Lt. Col. Stephen E. Liszewski, battalion commander. “We will honor their lives by our actions in the weeks and months ahead. We owe it to our fallen brothers to be warriors who live by the virtues of courage, humanity, and tenacity the way they did in their young lives. The way to properly honor their sacrifice is to perform with the same level of professionalism throughout this deployment, remain vigilant and keep pressing forward. Our brothers would want it no other way.”