Featured News

Not for glory or fame, post gets fallen Marine’s name

26 Apr 2006 | Cpl. Brian Reimers

Sgt. Matthew J. Fenton continues to watch over Marines in Fallujah, even after he died from wounds sustained in combat Apr. 26.  That’s because his fellow Marines named an observation post that serves to protect Marines in his honor.

Observation Post Fenton, located in the heart of Fallujah, was recently built and named by the Marines of 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5. Its purpose is to provide overwatch positions for Coalition Forces traveling throughout the area.

Fenton, an administrative supply clerk who was serving as a turret gunner for Headquarters and Service Company, died of his wounds suffered on the streets of Fallujah soon after the battalion deployed here.

“He was a great Marine and a great leader,” said Lance Cpl. Gene M. Porcelli, a 21-year-old supply warehouseman from Hauppage, N.Y. “He was the kind of leader you genuinely looked up to.”

Although Fenton was laid to rest, his name will carry on for the Marines here and for those who operate in the city.

The battalion constructed the new observation post on the city’s main road to provide increased security in the area, close to where the noncommissioned officer was wounded.

“We talked long and hard about it,” said Lt. Col. Christopher A. Landro, the battalion’s commander from Kennesaw, Ga.  “The leadership chose to name the OP after Sgt. Fenton because he was the first Marine from the battalion to die from his wounds in the city.”

Attacks against the new OP started the first day it began construction. Enemy forces fired rocket-propelled grenades and dozens of rifle rounds at the position. But the Marines pushed through, fought off attackers and carried on with their goal.

“Marines don’t give up ground,” said the 46-year-old Landro.  “There was no question in our minds that we would establish the OP and that it would be successful.”

The story of the attacks against the OP is similar to that of Fenton’s battle for his life. After he was wounded, he fought for days before succumbing to his wounds in a hospital in the United States.

“He wasn’t one to give up, never,” said Lance Cpl. Eric T. Shaw, a close friend and fellow supply Marine with Fenton. “He fought until he couldn’t fight anymore.  That is the kind of man he was.”

The post now stands strong with Marines constantly watching the streets of the city, providing route security for fellow Marines on foot and in convoys passing through.

“It’s just like Fenton,” said Shaw, a 22-year-old from Leicester, Mass.  “He was a leader, one to always look out for his fellow Marines. Taking care of them and making sure they had what they needed to get the job done.

“His OP serves the same purpose – look after those who are trying to accomplish the mission and keep them safe,” he added.  “It truly is Fenton’s OP.”

The OP has served well for the battalion. Most here agree that the area it watches has become increasingly safer for travel.

“I feel that he is always watching over us from his post in heaven, but now even more so with his post here,” Shaw said.

“As long as there are Marines operating in Fallujah, Sgt. Fenton will be in overwatch,” Landro added.