FALLUJAH, Iraq --
A small pump station on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq, sends streams of water through large metal pipes and into the homes and businesses of local citizens.
Today, these metal pipes carry not only water, but a flood of memories of one Marine’s sacrifice and dedication to his duties.
Marines with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, gathered at “Pump House Barney,” a combat outpost overlooking the pump station, to remember Cpl. Aaron M. Allen, from Buellton, Calif., during a ceremony, Nov. 22.
Allen, a 24-year-old team leader with the company’s 3rd Platoon, was killed while conducting combat operations not far from the outpost, where he and other Marines lived and worked.
Tears filled eyes of Marines with the company during the ceremony as they spoke quietly to each other, reflecting on the memories of their fellow Marine and close friend.
“The first time I met him, I knew there was just something different about him,” said Lance Cpl. Louis J. Denise, a rifleman with Company A. “When you walked into a room where he was, everyone was centered around him and you just wanted to be next to him.”
Several Marines with 3rd Platoon spoke about Allen’s dedication, telling the crowd of Marines how he had impacted their lives in many positive ways.
Each Marine described Allen’s commitment to the Corps and his devotion to being selfless. Allen was said to have given everything he had to ensure the Marines around him were taken care of before he took care of himself.
The young team leader was well known by most Marines with the company and was looked up to by many, said Denise. He was known for his natural leadership skills and his inapt ability to make others smile.
“From the first day that I checked into Alpha Company, Allen was the first Marine that stuck out to me,” said 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Stafford, 3rd Platoon commander. “He had a sense of humor that was recognized by his whole unit.”
Several Marines described him as someone who turned their bad days into laughter and kept things tolerable, even during the worst of times.
“I remember when he would sing songs from ‘Top Gun’ in the back of the (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicle),” said Sgt. Matthew J. Antonik, a section leader with 3rd Platoon. “He could always make us laugh.”
Allen joined the Marine Corps March 22, 2004 and joined up with 1st Bn., 4th Marines, Dec. 12, 2006. Allen had built several close relationships with many of the Marines in the unit.
“Corporal Allen was the best Marine that I knew,” said Antonik. “You couldn’t help but smile when you met him.”
In his first assignment before joining the battalion, Allen served as a basic security guard with Marine Security Force Company at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Georgia, where he completed several military training courses and was a member of a Close Quarters Battle team.
His knowledge and experience in CQB led him to be chosen as the senior instructor for urban patrolling and assault training for his platoon.