AL ASAD, Iraq --
“If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”
Another Marine has answered the call to take his post guarding the golden streets of Heaven.
Marines from Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 gathered to pay their final respects to their brother and comrade, Gunnery Sgt. Herman J. Murkerson, at the Al Asad Memorial Chapel, Oct. 9.
His friends remember him as someone who could be counted on to get the job done. His leadership style and knowledge set him apart from his peers, according to Master Sgt. Edwin Reid, the logistics section engineer chief for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).
“Honestly, with almost 20 years in the Marine Corps, I’ve worked with some really stellar Marines in that time, but Gunny Murkerson was what I always thought a (staff noncommissioned officer) should be,” said Reid. “And I hoped that when my junior Marines looked at me, they saw in me what I saw in him. He was probably the most stellar Staff NCO I’ve ever worked with.”
He believed in what he was doing. His dedication not only to the Corps, but his family, served as an example to those around him, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Roderick Welsh, the logistics chief for Marine Aircraft Group 29.
“A man of conviction, that would probably be the best way to paint the picture of Jerome Murkerson,” said Welsh. “He was a man of conviction, he believed in what he was doing. He was as red-blooded an American as you could find.”
“He had three kids, and he was involved with each and every one of them with whatever they were doing,” added Welsh. “Me personally, I don’t know how he had the time to do it all.”
Murkerson went to his sons’ soccer and football games. He was involved with boy scouts and girl scouts with his children. The only thing he loved as much as his family was being a Marine, according to Reid.
“That was just his character,” explained Reid. “As much as I know he loved his family, being a Marine was just as important to him. And being a Marine meant being deployed. One thing I loved about him the most was he led from the front. That was just the way he was, he had to do the Marine thing.”
His friends also remember him as a man of many passions: his wife and kids, NASCAR, hunting and fishing. His favorite though was Alabama football. He would travel to the games, and while he was deployed he sent his family tickets so they could watch the games, according to Welsh.
“If ever there was a Roll Tide fan, it was Jerome Murkerson,” said Welsh with a smile. “His truck, it was as close to the shade of the Tide as you could get. Even his cell phone was the Alabama colors. He was quite the Alabama football fan.”
He was killed by hostile fire Oct. 1, while serving on his third combat deployment. He was acting as the logistics advisor for a Military Transition Team that was attacked while on patrol with an Iraqi Army unit.
“When it comes to combat leadership, he’s one of the few (motor transportation) guys that has a combat distinguishing device,” said Welsh. “He has a (Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal) with a ‘V’. That’s the type of Marine he is. He always answered the call.”
Murkerson leaves behind his wife and high school sweetheart, Windy, and their three children, Stephen, Daniel and Kristina.
He is going to be missed.