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Battalion honors their fallen before leaving Iraq

7 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

Marine and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, said their final farewells to four Marines who were killed in action during the battalion's five-month deployment to Iraq, July 7.

The battalion honored 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, 34, from San Diego, Cpl. Daniel Amaya, 22, from Ector, Texas, Lance Cpl. Torrey Grey, 19, from Marion, Ill., and Lance Cpl. Bob Roberts, 30, from Portland, Ore.

Jimenez, Amaya and Grey were all killed during various firefights in and around Fallujah, Apr. 11.

"Those three men were lost on Easter Sunday," said Lt. Col. Bryan P. McCoy, the battalion's commanding officer from Norman, Okla.  "Ironically that was the day we had our final farewell for the Marines who passed away last year."

Roberts was killed in a separate incident a month later.

"Today was a day for closure," McCoy said.  "Despite it all, our men kept composure and pressed on.  This is a very resolute group of Marines."

Jimenez was deployed for the fourth time, a prior enlisted Marine with a smile that could brighten anyone's day no matter how bad according to Cpl. Cedric C. Jordan, from Abbeville, La., and an embark logistics specialist.

"He was one of those few who demanded respect no matter what," Jordan said.  "He led from the front, always cool, calm and collected."

Amaya was another who led by example, according to Cpl. Douglas A. Osborn, a squad leader with Company K, from Muncie, Idaho. 

"He was so excited about coming out here again," Osborn said.  "We were all in shock when he went down, but we were unable to grieve because of sporadic fire..."

Roberts was a very bright and experienced Marine who planned on competing for a commission in hopes of becoming an officer.  He was often teased for being so much older than his peers.

"He was taken too soon," said Cpl. Charles W. Gipson, infantryman with Company L from Olympia, Wash., speaking about Grey.  "They all died too young.  But Grey was one guy who didn't deserve it.  He loved life and we always talked about just having fun when we got home.

"It made us all fight harder," Gipson added.  "None of us were going to let those guys die in vain."

The ceremony ended with a prayer and final farewell from each Marine as they marched together past four unmanned rifles, helmet on top.

"We're here to honor these men's lives," McCoy said.  "Let us make the most of our lives so that these men of valor won't be forgotten.  We will never forget what they stood for."