FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHIR GHAZAY, Afghanistan --
The air was dry and warm as Marines and Georgian soldiers stood silent in preparation to honor their fallen comrade.
With a shout, Master Sgt. Gordon Plotzke, the senior enlisted advisor with Georgian Liaison Team, 32nd Georgian Light Infantry Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, began the ceremony to honor the life and sacrifice of Staff Sgt. Jonathan Davis, Mar. 2 here.
By tradition, the senior enlisted man announced the death of Davis and described the location and circumstances surrounding the warrior’s ultimate sacrifice.
A battle cross was assembled—boots, a rifle with fixed bayonet, a Kevlar helmet, and dog tags.
Davis, a motor transportation chief with the GLT, died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 22.
“Staff Sgt. Davis will always be remembered for his warrior spirit, can-do attitude and fighter-leader mentality,” said Maj. Rudy Salcido, the GLT commanding officer. “He embraced the responsibility of caring for his Marines and sailors through leadership by example.”
Davis, a Navajo Indian and native of Kayenta, Ariz., was remembered as a caring leader and as a family man. He spoke often of his wife, son, and mother and left no doubt that he loved his family completely.
He was also dedicated to his duties as a Marine. His fellow Marines recalled him being the last to return to the tent at night and the first to leave in the morning.
“It is important to acknowledge that Staff Sgt. Davis has provided us with the greatest gift–his leadership,” Salcido said. “He took ownership of training [his Marines] to take the lead in his absence. The fight goes on just like Staff Sgt. Davis would have wanted it.”
Commander Michael Williams, the RCT-7 chaplain, reminded Marines that Davis’ sacrifice must never be forgotten and should be carried on by future generations of Marines.
“How do we honor this man?” Williams said. “We honor him by carrying the torch and continuing our mission, by upholding the high standards of this organization, and by staying true to who we are.”
A calm air seemed to fall over the formation of Marines and sailors as Plotzke called roll one final time. The silence after each time Davis’ name was called represented his absence.
After the ceremony, Marines made their way to the battle cross to honor their fallen brother with silent prayers and solemn salutes.
For the GLT Marines, their mission will continue.
“Staff Sgt. Davis has paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Salcido said. “We will continue to honor him through our ruthless, selfless and unrelenting service to our fellow brothers-in-arms.”