MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif --
Taps sounded, a 21-gun salute was fired and Marines serving with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion bowed their heads as they remembered a brother during a memorial ceremony here, March 25.
Staff Sgt. Caleb Medley, a reconnaissance Marine who served as a field radio operator with Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, died during a skydiving training incident Feb. 26.
“Medley was a unique character. He was a great Marine and someone that I’m going to miss a lot,” said Gunnery Sgt. Garrett Dean, an instructor at the Reconnaissance Team Leaders Course, School of Infantry West. “The company is worse off without him.”
Medley was selected for promotion in 2013 and was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant after his death.
The La Junta, Colo., native served with 1st Recon during a recent combat deployment to Afghanistan, proving his mettle during numerous combat operations.
“We had a very busy deployment, and he was there throughout every one of the missions,” said Dean, an Arlington, Texas, native. “Every time I looked over at him, whether it was in the middle of a firefight or on patrol, he would always have that same smile on his face.”
The primary mission for Force Reconnaissance Marines on a typical combat deployment was to conduct reconnaissance forward of friendly lines, often putting themselves at great risk to gather information on enemy positions.
His fellow Marines said Medley had a strong passion for physical fitness. He always tried to improve himself and the Marines he trained with.
“If a day went by and he did not work out, you knew something was completely wrong,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Rawson, a team leader serving with Force Reconnaissance Co. “He had the mentality where he always was trying to improve himself, and make himself into a better Marine.”
In the Recon creed, which Recon Marines memorize during training, it reads, “on the battlefield as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.”
Medley always tried to outperform his peers and set the example for many Marines - both in the Reconnaissance community and outside, Dean said.
The Recon community is a very small and tightly knit part of the Marine Corps. When one member of their family is lost, it is felt by all, Rawson said.
“It was very much like losing a family member for me,” said Rawson, a Frazier Park, Calif., native. “It was like losing my brother. All of us here will never forget him.”
Medley’s personal decorations include the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat distinguishing device for valor, The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon.