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Marines in Iraq memorialize two Marines, sailor killed just weeks after deaths of four others from same unit

26 Aug 2006 | Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin

Just more than two weeks after memorializing four Marines killed in action, Marines serving in this region of Al Anbar province gathered to remember three more – two Marines and a sailor – who died last week during combat operations in Iraq.

In a somber ceremony on the Marines’ outpost in this Euphrates River city Aug. 26, Marines and sailors from the southern California-based 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion memorialized: Cpl. Adam A. Galvez, a 21-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah; Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, a 21-year-old from Bend, Ore., and Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon, a 20-year-old from Tucson, Ariz.

All three men were part of the battalion’s Company D, which spent three months living out of their eight-wheeled, armored troop carriers – light armored vehicles – combating insurgents and roadside bombs in Fallujah earlier this year.

The unit also conducted humanitarian missions in Kharma and Habbaniyah, large towns on Fallujah’s outskirts, and they provided security for a raid which resulted in the capture of a high ranking terrorist in Haditha, according to a July 7 report from Cpl. Graham A. Paulsgrove, the battalion’s combat correspondent.

For weeks at a time, the company lived out of their vehicles, slept inside or next to them, seldom returning to a base for a hot meal or shower, according to Paulsgrove’s report.

“They were Dragoon’s warriors. They were real warriors,” said 1st Sgt. Willie T. Ward III, of Galvez, Kenyon and Newman during the ceremony. Ward, a 38-year-old from Warner Robins, Ga., is the company’s senior enlisted advisor. “They were Wolf Pack. They were my brothers. I loved them.”

The deaths of the three men came on the heels of the deaths of four other Marines from the very same platoon within Company D: 2nd platoon. Sgt. Christian B. Williams, a 27-year-old from Winterhaven, Fla.; Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, a 28-year-old from Wolf Creek, Mont.; Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, a 19-year-old from Clovis, Calif.; and Lance Cpl. Jason Hanson, a 21-year-old from Forks, Wash., were all killed due to combat operations here Aug. 2.

They were memorialized in a similar ceremony here Aug. 10. Galvez, Kenyon and Newman attended that ceremony.

During all of their exploits in eastern Al Anbar province, no one from Company D was killed. All six of the battalion’s deaths occurred during combat operations in this region of western Al Anbar province.

“It’s too soon since the last time we were remembering the loss of another group of Marines from the same company, from the same platoon, which has borne so much of the share of our losses during this fight,” said Lt. Col. Matthew L. Jones, the battalion’s commanding officer, during the service.

“These men – Adam Galvez, Chad Kenyon, Randy Newman – they lived for a lot more than just what was going on over here,” said Jones.

During the ceremony, Marines from Company D’s 2nd Platoon took turns speaking about their fallen comrades before a final roll call of the company’s men, and the playing of Taps.

Lance Cpl. Gary M. Cassen, a 19-year-old from Cofax, Calif., remembered Kenyon as a “person of principle, who did everything he could to the best of his abilities.”

Kenyon, who joined the Navy in August 2004 and 3rd LAR Battalion in May 2005, was someone who would “put his life on the line for others,” said Cassen. In fact, he was “glad to do it.”

“The Marine Corps and the Navy were lucky to have a person of this caliber,” said Cassen. “Chad loved his Marines as much as he loved his Navy.”

While Company D was in Fallujah, Kenyon treated several casualties, including one Marine who was shot in the chest. Luckily, the Marine’s body armor stopped the enemy round from penetrating.

“Rounds would start going off and Chad would be in the front running and gunning,” said Cassen, who also spoke in remembrance of Butterfield during the unit’s Aug. 10 memorial service.  “After everything had calmed down, we would be like, ‘Hey Chad, you need to stay in the vehicle until someone gets hurt.’ But he would look you dead in the eyes and say, ‘And what? Let you have all the fun?’”

Less than three weeks before his death, Galvez was promoted to his current rank in Al Asad, Iraq – a large, U.S. military airbase southeast of Rawah – where he was recuperating from previous combat injuries.

An LAV mechanic by trade, Galvez, who joined the Marine Corps two years ago this month, was transferred from the battalion’s Headquarters Company to Company D as a replacement driver while the unit was in Fallujah. He was “always willing to go the extra mile” to help others, according to Lance Cpl. Alberto Garcia, a 22-year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas, and scout for Company D’s 2nd Platoon

“He was a real motivator when he came to us,” said Garcia. “He was our driver and our mechanic, but most of all he was a great friend.”

Garcia recalled when Galvez was injured – a roof fell on him and several other Marines after a suicide bomber detonated a truck laden with explosives near a U.S. military outpost in Rawah. Galvez told Garcia that he believed his ankle was broken, but when Garcia went to get help, Galvez freed himself from the rubble, ignored his pain, and tried to help others injured from the blast, according to Garcia.

“He grabbed his weapon, hobbled around, he helped me dig the rest of the Marines out,” said Garcia. “Even after help got there, Doc Kenyon had to force Cpl. Galvez to get (medically evacuated) on the vehicle.”

Moreover, Garcia said Galvez was a person of strong character, and turned down the opportunity to return to the U.S. after he was injured.

“He decided to stay side-by-side with his platoon until this deployment was over,” said Garcia. “This goes to show you what kind of person, and more importantly, what kind of Marine he is.”

“I think I speak for everybody – we love you, we miss you, take care, God bless,” said Garcia.

Cpl. Benjamin T. Bosse, a 25-year-old from Coopersville, Mich., and LAV “gunner” for 2nd platoon, said Newman was “from Oregon, and damn proud of it, but yet, he was even prouder to be a Marine.”

“He wasn’t just any Marine, he was a brother to us. He joined our family,” said Bosse, who was Newman’s roommate back in the U.S. “He will be remembered, not as a Marine, but as a brother.”

Newman was also a man with goals, said Bosse, who always had dreams of “becoming this, or becoming that.”

“I remember him ... telling me, ‘You know, I may be a driver, but I’m gonna be a gunner,’” said Bosse. “And it happened – he was a gunner.”

Following the ceremony, the 100-plus Marines, sailors and soldiers in attendance filed off to pay final respects to the fallen Marines’ and sailor’s memories, represented in true military fashion at the service – military helmets set atop three rifles, stuck bayonet-first into a wooden pedestal and adorned with each fallen Marine’s dog tags draped around each rifle’s hand grip.

“We can’t look at this as though we’ve lost two Marines and one Navy corpsman,” said Cassen. “But as if we’ve gained three guardian angels.”

“What’s important to remember, is that they weren’t just Marines and sailors,” said Jones. “They were your friends, your brothers.”

Third LAR Battalion, which is based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., is part of Regimental Combat Team 7, and arrived in Iraq in March. 

RCT-7 is the U.S. military unit responsible for providing security and mentoring Iraqi Security Forces in western Anbar – an area more than 30,000 square-miles in size which stretches from the Jordanian and Syrian borders hundreds of miles east to Hit, a city about 70 miles northwest of Ramadi.

This is the battalion’s third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalion will be replaced by another Marine unit later this year.

Email Staff Sgt. Goodwin at: goodwinjm@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil.