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June 12, 2006
Semper Fidelis - LCpl Brent Zoucha
Major Brian Bresnahan, former Marine who served in Iraq and knew LCpl Brent Zoucha, contrasts the life and death of one of America's finest with one of the world's worst in a moving tribute posted to his blog, High Plains Patriot (reprinted below). It's worth noting that LCpl Zoucha was meritoriously promoted to his current rank in April for his performance during combat. He is a hero and will long be remembered for what he has contributed to this world.
By the time this gets published, the body of an American hero, Lance Corporal Brent Zoucha, United States Marine Corps, is on its way back to, if not already arrived at, the small town of Clarks, Nebraska. Brent's body is being escorted by another American hero, his brother, fellow Marine and friend, Corporal Dyrek Zoucha.
Brent left for boot camp June 12, 2005 and was killed in Iraq June 9, 2006.
Dyrek, already a veteran of multiple tours in Iraq, served alongside Brent in 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. In fact, Dyrek had requested and been granted a four month extension in the Marine Corps so he could serve with his brother when he learned Brent was headed to his battalion.
Now he's bringing his little brother home.
The emotions of Brent's death stand in stark contrast to the emotions I felt when I learned of Abu Musab al Zarqawi's death the day prior.
After my time in Iraq I view death differently than before. It is a much more emotional issue. Not that any particularly tragic or traumatic event caused a decrease to my threshold for which emotion about death is triggered. But rather, I believe it's born out of a much higher reverence and respect for life than before. One can easily gain an all new understanding of both the fragility and value of life after some time in Iraq.
So, I never thought I would ever rejoice in the actual death of anyone, until I heard of Abu Musab al Zarqawi's. I thought my emotions concerning death were always going to be of the kind I felt when I learned of Brent's passing. But, I found myself relieved and jubilant about Zarqawi's demise.
His death brought relief to the anger I had felt when trying to work with Iraqis who would no longer visit with me or would send someone in their stead to inform me they couldn't be seen with American's because they'd been taken away, threatened, and shown videos of people being "slaughtered." I don't remember the Arabic word used, but in our conversations, the word "beheaded" was always interpreted as "slaughtered."
Zarqawi's death closes the chapter on frustration many of us felt, knowing we had him trapped in Fallujah in the spring of 2004, when the assault to retake the city was called off for seemingly unknown reasons. This frustration had only grown when we learned that it was Zarqawi himself who had claimed personal responsibility for beheading Nick Berg shortly thereafter.
His death brings relief and elation. Not in the way we rejoice for those who pass away after fighting a long, painful bout with cancer and go to be with their Savior, but simple happiness because he'd been killed and that he reaped what he'd sown. I am happy for the families who lost loved ones at his hands. I am happy for those Iraqi friends who no longer have to fear the rabid bite of that evil being. I am joyful that piece of human debris no longer stalks this earth.
However, Brent's death brings both sorrow and pride.
I take solace in knowing he died doing what he chose to do, what he wanted to do, serving and protecting his fellow Americans, being a Marine. Although we mourn his loss and struggle to cope with his passing, we also understand and honor the meaning and impact his sacrifice has for all of us.
His life will be honored and remembered by those who knew him, loved him, and had the privilege to serve with him. He will always be remembered for what he did, not just because he died. His sacrifice and selflessness will be honored and remembered with each breath of freedom we enjoy.
Abu Musab al Zarqawi on the other hand, will only be remembered for the atrocities he committed, for his evil, for his complete disregard for human life, and the wake of destruction he left through the sea of Christian and Islamic humanity. We will only resurrect his memory from the trash heap of history's most disgusting and diabolical figures when we need to remind ourselves of just how evil men can be and the destruction they can produce when left unchecked.
Lance Corporal Brent Zoucha will be remembered for sacrificing all that he was and all that life had to offer a young man; voluntarily doing so for the freedom and safety of others. His memory and sacrifice will strengthen the bonds of brotherhood that hold Marines together and contribute to the mystique and ethos of "The Few, The Proud."
Some said that Zarqawi's death makes no difference. I agree, because his time here on earth was wasted on purely evil pursuits. Thus, in the end, he didn't make a difference. But during his short life, Lance Corporal Brent Zoucha did. He embodied Ronald Reagan's observation that "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. Marines don't have that problem." Brent's life and death made a difference.
Semper Fidelis, Lance Corporal Zoucha. God speed.
Posted by Deb at June 12, 2006 09:27 PM
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Since I'm not a team member at the Major's site I'll post this here if you don't mind Deb.
There is no need to feel any form of guilt over your elation at the death of one of the most evil, sadistic animals on the face of the planet Major. Our family shared your frustration in the Spring of '04 as our son also knew they had Zarqawi and let him go in the same fight you were in. The Warlords had him twice more during another rotation but he was allowed to escape again waiting for authorization and just plain bad luck. To say the boys partied hearty upon learning of the death of this bastard would be an understatemnt. They lost some good friends as a direct result of Zarqawi's hatred of the Bn dating all the way back to the Mahmudiyah fights. May he rot in Hell!
What can you say about Heroes such as LCpl Brent Zoucha? The sheer unselfish devotion to each other, the Corps, and the mission border on the fantastic. God Bless the Zouchas and 1/7 Brothers! Heaven's perimeter is secure!
"Gone but not forgotten" is not just a catchy phrase. It is real, living, and true!
Fair Winds and Following Seas Lance Corporal of Marines! God Speed!
Posted by: JarheadDad at June 24, 2006 01:07 PM
Mr. & Mrs. Zoucha,
Im very sorry to hear of Brent's death in iraq. He was a good buddy of mine, and i will miss him. He was a great friend and could always make me laugh. I went to boot camp with him and SOI, and we were stationed together in 29 Palms with 1/7 until i got transferred to 3/4. I to am heading to iraq in the next couple of months and im a little nervous, but what can i do. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family. I hope you will be able to get through this without much trouble, just remember that Brent was doing something he loved to do. Thats what i tell my mom that if something happens to me, just remember that i was defending god and his country. Once again im sorry i heard about this tragedy and i wish you the best.
Posted by: Lance Meyer at June 28, 2006 07:10 PM
I would just like to say a thanks for everything that ppl have done for the Zouchas and I .. I am Brents girlfriend of almost 3yrs and its nice to know theres so many ppl that care... its really comforting.. and Pfc. Lance Meyer it would be good to get it touch with u.. I am interested in hearing things about Brent.. stuff ill never get to know things he said hed tell me all about when he got out.. if im thinking of the right person u are Lance from Wisconsin... and good luck to your unit I found out from Ian that u guys would be going after Brent.. so good luck to u and i hope we can get in touch.. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org... or if anyone elses knows anything about Brent let me know! thank you everyone your support has helped in ways you will never know!
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