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January 28, 2005

More prayers, more tears, and blessed assurance

Yesterday's helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 30 Marines and one Navy Corpsman marked the largest loss of Marines in a single incident since the Oct. 23, 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon when 241 U.S. Marines were killed when a explosives-laden truck driven by terrorists crashed through a checkpoint and into the barracks where they slept. Reports from Iraq have said the Marine helicopter was flying in a sandstorm - an unavoidable condition in a war zone.

I have heard from so many anxious parents who are waiting for word of their child's safety. Here are words of wisdom from a proud Marine dad, Tony M. who has endured his share of sleepless nights:

Folks, let me give you a good word ...


In those unspeakably dark moments, when a car pulling up in the drive causes your throat to constrict and your heart to race ... when the nights are unusually long ... when you read headlines such as "Eight Marines killed in Al-Anbar province," and you know your son is right in the middle of it ...

it's STILL gonna be OK.

You CAN take it. You HAVE to. And you will, and you'll grow from it, and your faith will be strengthened.

It's not much fun, I assure you.

During Cpl Jeremy's last deployment, when we knew he was taking part in the largest single Marine offensive since the Korean War, we asked ourselves as a family: "What is the very worst thing that could happen?"

The answer, of course, was easy. We knew he could lose his life.

As shattering as that would be, and as much as we would grieve, we would not grieve as those who have no hope. We've all made arrangements to meet again, and my hope is built on nothing less than that old blessed assurance.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these Marines who were all veterans of the successful Battle of Fallujah in November 2004 - they will forever be remembered as the heroes they were. Information on each fallen hero can be found here.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif

1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Naval Medical Clinic Hawaii, Marine Corps Units Detachment, Pearl Harbor

Petty Officer House had been a father for less than a month and had seen his son only through pictures - James was born to his wife Melanie on Christmas Eve. In an interview with the Ventura County Star, his parents described his relationship with the Marines he served with>

"In one of the letters he wrote, 'I know all of them ... even in the dark, by their mannerisms,'" Susan House of Simi Valley, Calif., read, choking back tears. "'I don't know how I am going to deal with losing any of them. It is my job to take care of them and keep them safe.'"

Petty Officer House extended his deployment because of a shortage of Navy corpsmen. There will be a special place in heaven for him - for all our heroes.

Posted by Deb at January 28, 2005 04:54 PM

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Good work Deb. Our prayers are with them all. Their family and their friends and their fellow Marines and Saliors.

Posted by: Paul at January 29, 2005 08:19 AM

My heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of these brave young heros families,As well as the U.S.M.C. Family for the loss of their fallen Brothers.
God speed to all of you who continue to give your all!!!
a proud Marine Aunt

Posted by: Cathy at January 31, 2005 09:22 AM

Petty Officer third Class John D House is my big brother. Though it has been almost three months since he was killed I am only just now able to get on the internet and read all these things about him. It is just so hard to see someone you love so much on a list of people who are no longer alive. But to see that he is not just another faceless nameless hero who dies and is then forgotten is very comforting. I just want to thank everyone for all of your thoughts prayers and support. My brother was a very humble man, never did he think this many people would pay him this much recognition, though he deserves every bit of it. As do all his brothers, the fallen heroes of 1st Batallion 3rd Marines Charlie co.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Elizabeth House
P.S. STAY STRONG CAHRLIE CO DEUCE MOB To any of you who know what this means please contact me for I know you are the ones who knew my brother, Joseph Spence, and Tim Knight very well and I would love to hear stories from the men who were with my brother the last days of his life so that someday I can relay them to his son.

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