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Blue Diamond team honors one of their fallen

13 Jun 2004 | Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Bolhman wasn't even supposed to be out on the patrol when he was killed in action June 7.  He volunteered to take the place of another Marine, giving that Marine needed rest.

"He took my spot that night," said Lance Cpl. Travis W. Johnson, Bohlman's teammate.  "I was supposed to be there that night.  I know he'd do it again.  That's how he was."

Marines, in a memorial service here, honored Bohlman, a 21-year-old from Sioux Falls, S.D., June 13.  He was a member of the division's jump command post.

He was remembered as a scrappy Marine, one who never backed down from a fight and had a fascination with knives and swords.

Johnson said he didn't know how Bohlman managed to bring a sword with him for his second deployment to Iraq, but wielded it in mock fights with him.

"I had a few sword fights," Johnson explained.  "I had a wooden one and he had a real one.  They didn't last that long.

"He was a fighter at heart," he added.  "He's got that heart.  He always had seven or eight knives."

Johnson also spoke of Bolhman's dedication to his fellow Marines.  He said he was often found working through the night fixing the light armored vehicles he drove so other Marines might get a couple hours' rest.

"He was an unselfish Marine," Johnson said.  "He didn't care if he had to work all night long.  It didn't matter what was on his collar.  He was a hard working Marine."

Capt. Edward T. Card, Bohlman's team commander, described him as a "seasoned Marine" and "combat veteran."  He used words such as "faithful" and "trusted and motivated friend of the Marines" when he spoke of him.

"Those Marines and sailors who served with him, admired him," Card said.  "Let us not honor Lance Corporal Bohlman's passing, but his achievements in life."

Navy Cmdr. Bill Devine, chaplain for 1st Marine Division, offered words of comfort to the packed chapel. 

"Often, bad things happen to good people," Devine said.  "That's not God's plan.  Because there are those who choose not to love, bad things happen to good people."

Devine reminded the Marines of the camaraderie they shared with Bolhman, evidenced by those gathered to honor his life.

"He wrestled with you, whether you wanted to or not, or with the sword fights, he loved you and you knew it," he said.  "I've sensed God's presence over here.  I've felt that bond over here - how much we care for each other.  I'll even say love each other."

Taps sounded for Bolhman, a lone and somber bugler offering a final salute for the Marine.  One-by-one, Marines stepped to the helmet, rifle, boots and identification tags set up to memorialize Bohlman.  Several pulled their own knives from their pockets, jamming them into the boards.  Others hung their own tags next to his.  Still, some just reached and touched the helmet.

Johnson ended his remarks with a promise between friends.

"I truly believe, one day, I will see him again," he added.

Bolhman is survived by his wife Lindsey.