Featured News

‘America’s Battalion’ pays tribute to fallen brother

7 Oct 2006 | Lance Cpl. Erik Villagran

Marines with G Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment paused to honor a Marine who gave his life for freedom.

A memorial service was held here Oct. 7 to honor Lance Cpl. Howard S. March, a 20-year-old rifleman from Buffalo, N.Y., who was killed in action Sept. 24. He was assigned to G Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

The battalion is currently operating in the Al Anbar Province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with Regimental Combat Team 5.

“Lance Cpl. March was the type of Marine who his squad could depend on,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth M. DeTreux, the 41-year-old battalion commander from Philadelphia. “He was the type who rose to the occasion here in Iraq and took his job seriously because he knew Marines lives depended on it.”

The battalion has been in their area of operations for more than two months.

“‘America’s Battalion’ has lost one of its own, and he will never be forgotten,” DeTreux said. “Lance Cpl. March will forever remain a member of this battalion and he will be another guardian angel to watch over us as we carry on the mission in Iraq.”

Marines who served with him remembered his selflessness and the love he had for his Marines.

“He was the kind that would help you if you were in need with whatever he had,” said Lance Cpl. David L. Washington, a 22-year-old rifleman from Charlotte, N.C. “He was willing to sacrifice the last of what he had. That’s what I liked about him the most.”

March’s work ethic and his personality were qualities his fellow Marines looked to emulate.

“He added energy, strength and charisma to the squad,” said Lance Cpl. Eric D. Peterman, a 20-year-old rifleman from White Plains, N.Y. “As a Marine he always gave 100 percent to what he was doing.  He became the standard in which all of us were measured.”

March was commemorated with a memorial which consisted of a helmet resting on the butt of a rifle. Identification tags were hung from the rifle, and boots were placed in front of it. A photo of March rested next to his memorial.

March’s first sergeant called out Final Roll Call, and a Marine played “Taps” to end the ceremony.

Marines from the battalion then came forward to pay their respects to their fallen brother.

March graduated from Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo. He reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., in July 2004. He completed the School of Infantry (East) and obtained his military occupational specialty, that of a basic rifleman.

March’s awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

“Saying he will be missed is an understatement,” Peterman said. “Part of our family is gone, but he will never be forgotten. He will always be a part of our lives and we will carry him with us forever.”