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Battalion honors five Marines killed in Ramadi, Iraq

12 Jun 2004 | Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

The oldest of the five Marines remembered June 12 was only 28. The youngest was still a teenager.

Marines and sailors from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment gathered here to pay their last respects to Cpl. Bum R. Lee, Lance Cpls. Todd J. Bolding, Rafael Reynosa and Benjamin R. Gonzales, and Pfc. Cody S. Calavan.

Company E's Lee, 21; Reynosa, 28; Gonzales, 23; and Calavan, 20, were struck down by a vehicle bomb May 29. Twenty-three-year-old Bolding, of Company G, was killed while standing guard over a corpsman who was rendering aid to an enemy combatant June 3.

"Today we have come to honor our fallen brothers," said Navy Lt. Brian Weigelt, battalion chaplain. "These are men we shared joyful moments and difficult days. We do not want to be consumed by grief, but also we do not want to sweep it aside."

Cpl. Dawvid T. Walter, who spoke on behalf of his friend Bolding, said he is trying not to mourn his loss while in Iraq but will wait until he returns home.

"These ceremonies are important because anything you didn't get to say before your friend died, you get to say here," Walter explained. "It's good to get it off your chest."

The battalion has already lost 26 of its men since arriving here almost four months ago, and the pain of losing a fellow brother-in-arms never gets easier for the Marines left behind.

"Just down the road from our home here," said Capt. Kelly D. Royer, Company E commander, "a group of brutal terrorists planted a bomb that killed four of our men and
injured six."

Royer described his men as honorable and courageous warriors who died fighting for something greater than themselves.

"It's always internally painful to lose such fine men, but we cannot lose our resolve," Royer added. "For all those who are present today, never forget these men and the courage they displayed."

He said each of them would be very hard to forget because each had a unique personality.
Born in South Korea, Lee, of Santa Clara, Calif., was in the process of gaining his American citizenship and was planning to attend college in northern California after finishing his time in the Marine Corps.

Reynosa was a devoted Roman Catholic from Riverside, Calif., whose wife, Dinora, is expecting twins. After the Marine Corps, he planned on opening a restaurant of his own.

Gonzales, from Los Angeles, served with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment during the war here last year. His goal was to become an English teacher after his time in the Marines.

Bolding was born and raised in Houston and was described by those close to him as "one of the most liked men in Golf Company." He smiled and joked around with his fellow Marines about everything and loved his wife, Sabine, more than anything.

Calavan was from Stanwood, Wash., and would have turned 20 in November. His goals in life were to one day own a 1967 Shelby GT 550, to finish college and eventually become a police officer.

"Let us honor our fallen brothers through our demonstration of honor, courage and commitment," Weigelt said "and serve as examples to future generations that freedom is
not free."