MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq -- Patrols and watches ceased for a brief time here Wednesday so Camp Lejeune Marines from Company E, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, could honor one of their fallen warriors.
Corporal Christopher W. Belchik was a squad leader with the company when shrapnel from a roadside bomb ended his life Aug. 22. He was 30 years old.
"There were three things Chris loved: his wife, Mary; his cat, Aggie; and his Playstation," said Cpl. Travis S. Kreil, a squad leader with the company. "Everyone here remembers his stories and his jokes. He was a good friend."
Belchik's teammates and friends spoke during the memorial ceremony about what they remembered most about their friend from Jersey, Ill.
"I knew no matter how miserable things got, it would always be alright with Belchik around," said Cpl. Anthony Capuccio, a 30 year-old rifleman from Atlanta, Ga. "He had a way of being goofy and making you laugh. He set the example by doing what he had to do."
Belchik was on patrol with his squad when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle, killing him instantly. The death came as a hard blow to his platoon and friends. They think of Belchik as a 'Marine's Marine,' the one who kept them all going.
"When the humor started to come back to the platoon after he died, it was Belchik's humor that we saw," said Cpl. Johan E. Bayer, a 23 year-old from Chicago. "Long after all of us have moved on from 2nd platoon, Belchik will be remembered. His spirit will still be here."
Stories of Belchik's humor and life were plentiful at the ceremony. The Marines that knew him best all had stories to share of their friend.
"I used to take him down to Wilmington with me where he would watch me get tattoos. When he got his first one, his wife was (very upset)," said Kreil, 22, of Jamestown, N.D. "His wife picked out his third tattoo for him."
Belchik's relationship with his wife was a strong one, platoon comrades said. This was reflected in his kindness toward his friends in their times of need.
"When I didn't have enough money to go home he would take me home with him," Kreil said. "His family took me in like I was one of their own."
Lieutenant Col. Giles Kyser, the commanding officer of the battalion, also spoke during the ceremony.
"Last night I was trying to think of what to say today. I was going over birth orders ... for a little girl," said Kyser, of Dumfries, Va. "I felt sadness at the loss of a Marine and happiness at the thought of that little girl growing up in a safer world because of what Belchik gave to us."
Belchik is survived by his wife, Mary.