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Battalion honors fallen heroes with wall memorial

16 Sep 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

Marines of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment created an indoor wall memorial for their fallen heroes here.

“The wall is appropriate,” said Staff Sgt. Frank Lipcsak, a 35-year-old platoon sergeant from New Orleans assigned to L Company.  “I think it serves as a reminder of the sacrifices those Marines made for the other Marines here.”

A handful of Marines painted, drilled and hammered the wall for three days in addition to fulfilling their everyday work schedules.

The wall’s decoration was inspired from the Purple Heart – an award given to servicemembers who were wounded or killed during combat operations.

It reads “Fallen Heroes” across the top on an arched ribbon in eggplant, eggshell white, marigold, burgundy, olive and lavender paint with bold black outlines under a thin gloss coating.

The wall is also adorned with framed pictures and hanging identification tags of their fallen comrades.

Many were pleased when their fellow Marines finished after three days of painting and drilling.

“It was good that those Marines were honored, remembered,” said 2nd Lt. William F. Heinzelmann, Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon commander.

The 26-year-old infantry officer from Allentown, Pa., said he liked the results but was more appreciative of the Marines’ selflessness.

“I was thankful to those Marines for their sacrifice,” he said.

Heinzelmann’s Marines agreed.

“I felt privileged to know that I served with them,” said Sgt. Mark S. Barnes, a 25-year-old tow gunner from Paulding, Ohio, assigned to CAAT Platoon.  “They gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

The grunts weren’t the only Marines in awe of the memorial. Other Marines here were awestricken by the wall.

“When I saw the wall, I was sympathetic to the families of the Marines who lost their lives,” said Cpl. Gregory C. Middleton, a logistics specialist with Headquarters and Service Company.

The 24-year-old from Chicago, Ill., is a self-proclaimed “family man.” The father of two said the battalion’s dedication helped him see more than just framed photos on a wall.

“I look at the Marines on the wall and realize that that could be someone’s brother, son or father,” said Middleton who passes by the memorial on a daily basis.

The battalion’s “fallen heroes” aren’t here physically, but the spirits of those men will still live on through the wall memorial.

“Even though they are no longer with us, they are still with us,” Barnes said.