CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq -- Hundreds stood at attention as a bugler played “Taps” to honor a fallen brother.
Lance Cpl. Christopher B Cosgrove III was killed in action Oct. 1 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province. He served as a rifleman with C Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.
“Lance Cpl. Cosgrove is one of those young men and Marines who you meet during the course of your life and the course of your Marine Corps career who immediately strikes in you the reasons why you joined,” said Lt. Col. Christopher A. Landro, battalion commander, from Kennesaw, Ga.
Cosgrove, 23, was remembered most by his closest friends and fellow Marines as a man who had a strong passion for being a Marine.
“Chris truly loved the Marine Corps, and he let everyone know it, whether it was with his three Marine Corps tattoos or the fifty stickers he had on his car,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle C. Witty, a rifleman from Montville, N.J.
When he received word that another unit was going to be heading to Iraq and that they were looking for volunteers, he didn’t hesitate to make the quick decision to deploy.
“Chris was one of the first to volunteer,” said 24-year-old Witty. “At that moment I knew that I was going to volunteer too, to go to Iraq with my brother,”
“He could have taken the safe route and stayed home and avoided the war, but that was not the style of a man who had devoted himself to causes since he was in high school,” said Maj. Vaughn L. Ward, C Company Commander, from Arlington, Va. “For him there was no choice. The path was clear and he knew exactly what he must do.”
A constant smile and upbeat personality kept Marines close to him. He was known for his abilities to make the best of any situation and appreciate the life he loved so much.
“I always looked forward to seeing him, as I knew his proud attitude could cheer anyone up,” said the 37-year-old Ward. “He was a solid Marine with an infectious smile who made the Marines around him smile, no matter how difficult the circumstances.”
The battalion honored Cosgrove with a memorial consisting of a helmet sitting on top of a rifle and identification tags resting next to a pair of combat boots. Marines spoke about memories of their fallen brother and one by one paid their last respects in front of his memorial.
“Chris was a man who loved all and was loved by all,” said 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Remigiusz Wojdala, a rifleman from Denville, N.J. “Although he is not physically with us, he will always live in our hearts and minds. Lance Cpl. Cosgrove has been permanently reassigned to his last duty station permanently where he will be guarding the gates of heaven.”
Cosgrove was from Cedar Knolls, N.J., and graduated from Whipanny Park High School in 2001. He enlisted into the Marine Corps Reserve in May of 2004 and reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., for basic training. Upon graduation he reported to the Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Geiger, N.C., where he obtained the military occupational specialty of rifleman. He later checked into G Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. In December 2005, Cosgrove volunteered to deploy with 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment to Iraq and support the War on Terrorism. While operating in Fallujah, he served as a rifleman, assistant automatic rifleman and an automatic rifleman. Before deploying with the unit, he graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in history.
His personal awards and decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.