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Lima Company Memorial Honors Fallen Marines

By Marine Corps Sgt. G.S. Thomas
Special to American Forces Press Service

COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 27, 2008 – Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and other senior officials began the Memorial Day weekend by participating in a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse here May 23 that included the unveiling of a memorial honoring 22 Marines and a Navy corpsman killed in Iraq.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England praises the heroism demonstrated by fallen Marines of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines during a dedication of a memorial in their honor in Columbus, Ohio, May 23, 2008. Defense Department photo by Kevin Wensing
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The memorial consists of eight panels with life-sized portraits of the Marines and corpsman from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, who lost their lives while serving in Iraq from February to September 2005.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Delgado, who deployed with the company as the weapons platoon commander, was among those who spoke at the unveiling. He held back his emotions as he shared personal stories about many of the fallen.

“None of us want these Marines or anyone from Lima Company to be remembered for their death,” Delgado said. “Please never forget why Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen go forward, and that’s to push the cause of freedom.”

England praised the courage of the Lima Company Marines who he said followed in the footsteps of Americans who have defended freedom for more than 230 years, including the “Greatest Generation” from World War II.

“Just as the ‘Greatest Generation’ answered the call almost 70 years ago and changed the course of history, today’s ‘Greatest Generation,’ Lima Company, has preserved for us this marvelous, precious gift,” he said.

“In honoring them, let us all never forget their sacrifices,” he said. “Let us all recommit ourselves to the preservation of freedom for future generations, so those generations will wake each morning as free Americans.”

England said it’s not by accident or chance that Americans live in freedom, but because patriots like Lima Company Marines have stepped forward to defend it when it was threatened.

“Lima Company -- and especially those honored today and their families -- knows that the American people are grateful for your sacrifice, your tireless service, your dedication, and especially your gift of freedom,” he said.

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Magnus shared words sent to the Lima Company Marines by Deb Dunham. Her late son, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, became the first Marine since Vietnam to earn the Medal of Honor when he threw himself on a live terrorist grenade in Iraq to protect his fellow Marines.

“My message is Deb Dunham’s message for those who honor the fallen angels of Lima 3/25 today and for those who carry on and celebrate the meaning of their lives,” Magnus said. “Just like her boy Jason, who volunteered after 9/11 to do an important mission and to take care of his Marines, we say, ‘Thank you, keep doing what you are doing, and take care of each other.’

“God bless the angels for the lives that they lived,” he said. “God bless all who celebrate their lives. God bless those who do the difficult and often dangerous work of serving. God bless all who support them and their families. God bless America. Semper fidelis.”

The eight canvas panels of the Lima Company Memorial honoring the fallen Marines were painted by Columbus artist Anita Miller, who said the idea came to her in a dream. The panels are arranged in an octagon, with each fallen warrior’s boots and an ever-living candle beneath his likeness.

The memorial will stay in the statehouse before traveling across the country.

“These paintings tell a story of courage and strength and hope,” Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said during the dedication ceremony. “The paintings will stand in our state house from Memorial Day through Veterans Day, but the Lima Company will remain in our hearts every day.”

Depicted in the paintings are:

-- Lance Cpl. Eric J. Bernholtz, 23. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 27, 1981. His hometown is Grove City, Ohio, where he attended school from first grade through high school. Bernholz was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an improvised explosive device.

-- Lance Cpl. Wesley G. Davids, 20. He was born in San Jose, Calif., on May 10, 1985. Davids was a freshman in high school when his family moved to Dublin, Ohio, where he rowed with a team on the Scioto River. Davids was killed in action May 11, 2005, in Qaim, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Christopher Jenkins Dyer, 19. He was born in Cincinnati on March 13, 1986. Dyer considered both Evendale and Glendale, Ohio, as hometowns. He was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Christopher P. Lyons, 24. He was born in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 26, 1980. His hometown is Shelby, Ohio, where he worked as an advertising salesman for the Mansfield News Journal before he was deployed. Lyons was killed in action July 28, 2005, in Cykla, Iraq, from enemy fire.

-- Lance Cpl. Aaron H. Reed, 21. He was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on Aug. 23, 1983. Reed was killed in action on Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Sgt. David N. Wimberg, 24. He was born in Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 24, 1981. Wimberg was killed in action on May 25, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq, while leading his squad in a firefight.

-- Pfc. Christopher R. Dixon, 18. Born in Columbus, Ohio, on July 24, 1986, Dixon called Obetz, Ohio, home. He was killed in action May 11, 2005, in Qaim, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Michael J. Cifuentes, 25. He was born in Hamilton, Ohio, on June 25, 1980. Cifuentes called Fairfield, Ohio, home. He was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Nicholas William Baart Bloem, 20. Born in Bellevue, Wash., on Aug. 2, 1985, he called Belgrade, Mont., home. He was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Erdy, 21. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 22, 1983, and called Owensville, Ohio, home. He was killed in action May 11, 2005, in Qaim, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Cpl. Dustin A. Derga, 24. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 18, 1980. His hometown is Pickerington, Ohio. He was killed in action May 8, 2005, in New Ubaydi, Iraq, from enemy fire.

-- Cpl. Andre´ "Dre´" L. Williams, 23. He was born in Lima, Ohio, on Aug. 9, 1981, and called Galloway, Ohio, home. He was killed in action July 28, 2005, in Cykla, Iraq, from enemy fire.

-- Lance Cpl. Grant B. Fraser, 22. Fraser was born in Anchorage, Alaska, on Feb. 3, 1983. He was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Staff Sgt. Kendall H. Ivy II, 28. He was born in Galion, Ohio, on Sept. 15, 1976. He was killed in action May 11, 2005, in New Ubaydi, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood, 26. Born at Pensacola Naval Base, Fla., on June 5, 1979, Youngblood called Ivor, Va., home. He died July 21, 2005, from IED wounds suffered in Hit, Iraq, on July 15, 2005.

-- Lance Cpl. William Brett Wightman, 22. He was born in Fayette County, Ohio, on Jan. 11, 1983, and called Sabina, Ohio, home. Wightman was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Edward August "Augie" Schroeder II, 23. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, on April 10, 1982, and his hometown is South Orange, N.J. Schroeder was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Goodwin, 33. He was born in Fitchburg, Mass., on May 28, 1971, and called Shirley, Mass., his home. He was killed in action May 8, 2005, in New Ubaydi, Iraq, from enemy fire.

-- Sgt. Justin F. Hoffman, 27. He was born in Orange, Calif., on Nov. 9, 1977, and his hometown is Delaware, Ohio. He was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Sgt. David Kenneth John Kreuter, 26. He was born in Cincinnati on June 25, 1979, and was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Jourdan Lin Grez, 24. He was born in Little Silver, N.J., and called Richmond, Va., home. He was killed in action May 11, 2005, in Qaim, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Bell Jr., 22. He was born in Kansas City, Mo., on May 11, 1983, and his hometown is West Chester, Ohio. Bell was killed in action Aug. 3, 2005, in Barwanah, Iraq, by an IED.

-- Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Grant, 23. Born on April 15, 1982, he called Espanola, N.M., home. He was killed in action May 11, 2005, in Qaim, Iraq, by an IED.

(Marine Corps Sgt. G.S. Thomas is media chief for Marine Forces Reserve. Donna Miles from American Forces Press Service contributed to this article.)

Contact Author

Biographies:
Gordon England
Gen. Robert Magnus

Related Sites:
Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines



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