Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, is the Columbus-based unit that lost nine company members among the 14 Marines killed this past August 3 in a roadside bombing in Iraq. High school students Jay Parks and Garrett Downing were on hand when the unit returned home last month. Their video report is accessible here.
On a related note, last week the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran the AP story on Sarah Dyer. Sarah Dyer is the sister of Christopher Dyer, one of the Lima Company Marines killed in the August 3 roadside bombing. She has enlisted in the Marine Reserves and applied for appointment to West Point. (Thanks to Mike Downing for the video tip.)
UPDATE: Rhonda Riley McGowan writes:
Reading again about Lima Company’s homecoming has prompted me to finally write.
One of my son’s closest friends was a Marine killed from Lima company. Unlike the stereotype that most people have of a Marine “grunt” as having few options, Wesley was from a better-than-average family. His mother is a VP of a major world-wide corporation. He could have gone off to college or pulled some strings to get into an officers training school, but he wanted to serve his country immediately, as a Marine.
In every letter his mother sent to him, she closed with the words “Be safe. Be strong.”
After his death, she had hundreds of blue rubber bracelets made with his name and those words. My son enlisted in the USAF and wears his–at the risk of discipline– under his clothes in honor of his friend and the sacrifice he made for freedom. For Christmas, he had a silver bracelet engraved with the exact wording of the blue rubber bracelet for his girlfriend, also a close friend of Wes.
It is hard for me to imagine a young boy who visited my home to be gone due to war. Wes’s homecoming was not the happy one celebrated by other members of Lima Company, but was more significant in many ways. I am sincerely grateful to his parents, and to countless others, for their sacrifice, as well as the brave men and women who are serving our country. It is not in vain.
Reader Bill Ferguson adds:
It would be easy for those not familiar with Marine battalion nomenclature to confuse the two recent Lima Company posts.
My son serves in the 3/1 Lima company, and the post today refers to the 3/25 Lima Company. The 3/1 is a regular Marine unit based in Camp Pendleton, CA, while the 3/25 is a Marine Reserve unit from Ohio. The 3/25 did suffer losses in August that were just horrific, and our condolences go to all of the 3/25 families. The 3/1 Marines replaced the 3/25 Marines in Western Iraq.