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Echo Company Marines pay final respect to fallen brethren

21 Oct 2004 | Lance Cpl. Graham Paulsgrove

While completing their mission to provide Iraq with a safe and secure future, two more Marines were lost.

A memorial service was held Oct. 16 in honor of 2nd Lt. Paul Mike Felsberg, platoon commander and Lance Cpl. Victor A. Gonzalez, rifleman, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

While engaged with Anti Iraq Forces Oct. 13, the two men died. 

"These were brave men who served their country," said Lt. Col. Randy P. Newman, commanding officer, 2/5.  "They remained forever faithful to their country and Corps."

Felsberg, 27, a native of Boynton Beach, Fla., was a prior enlisted Marine known for his excellent leadership, honesty and love for his Marines and the Marine Corps.

"Serving on both sides of the tracks made him a good leader," said Sgt. Erik Pacheco, squad leader, Company E, 2/5.  "He led from the front. If he had it his way, he would go before his men.  He was a great man and an even better Marine."

Felsberg was remembered as more than just a good leader.

"Most of you knew him as lieutenant, I knew him as Mike," said 2nd Lt. Nathan Kurland, platoon commander, Company E, 2/5.  "He was a fellow Marine, my roommate and a good friend.  The times I spent with him at work or play will not be forgotten."

Gonzalez, 19, a native of Watsonville, Calif., was known through the company for his humor and for being an outstanding Marine.

"He was a special Marine and a special man," said 2nd Lt. Patrick Lavoie, platoon commander, Company E, 2/5.  "No matter how hard you tried or how miserable the conditions were, you could never wipe the smile off his face."

Everyone recognized his love for the Marine Corps and his fellow leathernecks.

"He was a great Marine and a great man," said Pfc. Tom Moran, rifleman, Company E, 2/5.  "He had a positive influence on many Marines and would always make you laugh.  Even if he had the worst day, he always had a smile on his face.  I was honored to fight by his side.  He is definitely a hero."

Despite Company E's losses, their will to fight has only been strengthened.

"We must now carry on with our mission to completion, to pay honor to them, as warriors and as men," said Newman. 

Committed to their fallen friends and brothers in arms, the Marines of Company E continue to push forward.

"I want the lieutenant to know that we will keep striving to get the mission completed," said Pacheco.  "Bye Sir."

1st Marine Division