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Battalion honors Marine killed in Fallujah

20 Apr 2004 | Sgt. Jose E. Guillen

Cpl. Daniel R. Amaya was exactly where he told his Marines he always would be: leading them from the front.

Amaya, a 24-year-old squad leader for 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment was fatally wounded fighting enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq April 11. 

The battalion paused operations April 20 to honor their fallen Marine.

"He always set a great example for any Marine to follow," said Cpl. Brian J. Zmudzinski, a fellow squad leader in 3rd Platoon. "But the standard he set will be very hard to follow."

Amaya led his Marines into a building to clear it of enemy when he was killed.

Gunnery Sgt. Jean-Paul Courville, first sergeant for Company K, and by all accounts a firm, but fair man, said he liked Amaya.  It was his "go-getter" attitude that drew him to the young Marine.  The Marine deployed for the initial invasion in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployed again without hesitation.

"The biggest compliment I can pay Cpl. Amaya is that most people would be overwhelmed for being in combat after OIF," Courville said. "Cpl. Amaya didn't see it that way, he was a corporal and he was here to do a job. What I admire about Cpl. Amaya was that he was always the first one to volunteer - he was that kind of guy."

Zmudzinski said he and comrades should rest assured Amaya is keeping an eye on them.

"Right now he's upstairs serving as the best over watch... everybody's own guardian angel," he said.

The battalion's chaplain said Amaya embodied what it means to be a Marine noncommissioned officer.  He never failed his mission or his Marines.

"Cpl. Amaya was an NCO - the backbone of the Marine Corps leading from the front," said Navy Lt. Robert M. Grove, battalion chaplain. "He gave his best to God, country and Corps, and now Cpl. Amaya is leading from the front in God's Kingdom."