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Combat engineer memorialized in Ar Ramadi

1 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

The very device Lance Cpl. William J. Wiscowiche was looking for ended his life during a patrol March 30.

Wiscowiche, a combat engineer with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, was conducting an improvised explosive device sweep one mile from the camp here when a buried IED detonated near him. The blast killed him instantly.

Marines and sailors with the battalion attended a remembrance service here April 1 to honor Wiscowiche's memory. During the ceremony, a 21-gun volley cracked the morning air and Marines paid their last respects to the fallen warrior.

"I met Lance Corporal Wiscowiche when we were working with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment during the war last year," Staff Sgt. Jamey D. Finch, combat engineer, said.
"The day I met him he greeted me with a smile, and I can't remember a time when he didn't have that smile. It went from ear to ear."

Throughout the duration of last year's offensive into Iraq, Wiscowiche and his unit played a part in some of the conflict's defining moments. He watched as Saddam Hussein's palaces were raided and Saddam's statue was destroyed in Baghdad. Wiscowiche's daughter was born while he was deployed.

He experienced all of this with barely two years in the Marine Corps.

Twenty-year-old Wiscowiche, "Whiskey" for short, joined the Marine Corps in 2001. After basic training, he was sent to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., a stone's throw from his family in Victorville, Calif. While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Wiscowiche, an automotive enthusiast, met his best friend Lance Cpl. Michael A. Matlock.

According to Matlock, also a combat engineer, his buddy loved his family more than anything in the world. Wiscowiche's father is a retired master gunnery sergeant and was his son's greatest idol.

"Whiskey wanted to be just like his dad," Matlock recalled. "He even took his dad's nickname and made it his own. He tried everything to be like his dad."

His determination to be like his father made Wiscowiche into a Marine Finch described as "one of the best lance corporal leaders I have ever met."

"Whiskey was one of my fire team leaders," Finch added. "He was the guy who would go around and see how his fellow Marines were doing. He cared about everyone."

One of his most noticeable traits, according to both Finch and Matlock, was his ability to find the positive side of any situation and then help spread it to his peers.

"We've been together through the thick and the thin, every type of environment imaginable," Finch explained. "He never complained and always kept that smile on his face."

Thinking about his wife and daughter was the most common reason for his nonstop smile, Matlock added.

"He loved his wife more than anything and wanted to give her everything she ever wanted," Matlock said. "His greatest ambition was to get home to see his baby daughter grow up."