Could it be because these men were REAL men? This is such a great loss, they have given so much during their lives. I know the old saying is true: It is not how long you live; what matters is what you do while you are alive.
I would like to thank Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai for all the help he provided to us for the cause of Life, Liberty and pursuit of property while over seas. He did so much for so many during his time in the service, whether he was in or out of the combat zone.
This past Thursday, three of our lovely men have fallen. There names and ages:
Lt. Col. Max A. Galeai, 42, of Pago Pago, American Samoa.Source: DoD Identifies Marine Casualties, Patriot Guard Riders.
Capt. Philip J. Dykeman, 38, of Brockport, N.Y.
Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla.
The Marines were assigned to 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaii public affairs office at (808) 257-8840/70.
In Memory of Ed "OldIron" Barrett
"Remember that no matter how many missions you have been on, all that matters to the family is the one you are on today." ~ Roert
Here is some of the activies of that day, as best as I can gather. They were killed in the town of Karmah in Anbar province, about 30 miles west of Baghdad, by a suicide bomber who disguised himself as a police officer. This occurred during a meeting with tribal sheiks opposed to AQI. There are rumors that two Iraqi interpreters, a local mayor, and several important tribal sheiks were also killed, but the DoD would only confirm the deaths of the Marines.
When this happened, there were just two days left before the transition was to be made to the Iraqis to take full responsibility of this very region. They are saying that bad weather had postponed the handover, but if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn.
On the brighter side, if there could be one, 10 of the 18 provinces have been returned to the control of the Iraqis. The eight provinces that are left are dominated by the Kurdish and Shi'ites.
Here is a little insight into WHO Lt. Col. Max Galeai was:
Friends yesterday remembered Galeai, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, as a dedicated family man, a natural leader and a caring buddy who would never burden others with his problems. Just last week, in the midst of his deployment in Iraq, he sent e-mails to friends with jokes about the hot weather and friendly queries about how they were doing.Source: Suicide bomber kills 3 Hawaii Marines, HonoluluAdvertiser.com.
"I'm trying to cope with the fact that he's no longer with us," said Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Taumaoe Gaoteote, of California, a longtime friend. "I didn't know how to react when I heard. I never thought it would actually happen to him."
In a newsletter for families of Kane'ohe-based Marines, Galeai wrote in February that during the deployment, battalion members would be "working with Iraqi police, Iraqi army and other(s) ... as we help the Iraqi people establish the conditions necessary for them to assume responsibility for their own security and local governance."
One of Galeai's friends, Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Paul Moniz, of New York, said he heard from Galeai about a week ago in an e-mail. Galeai didn't talk much about what he was doing in Iraq, but made sure to ask Moniz about how he was holding up. "He was a friend, mentor, bigger than life, extremely bright, just one of those guys," Moniz said. Moniz, who used to work under Galeai, said the officer always "sunk his teeth into his work" and expected a lot from people, but also praised them when they delivered. "He was definitely an inspirational guy. He was caring, compassionate."
Master Sgt. Brett W. Beard, of California, also used to work under Galeai and quickly befriended him. "He just made it super easy to go out there to work day after day," Galeai said. "His first love was always leading Marines."
But this is not all there was to these men. No, not by a long shot. These men were heroes and commanders! Lt. Col. Galeai was on his second tour in Iraq. He had served in the Marines in Virginia, California, Okinawa and elsewhere. In the time between 1988 until his death, he had earned and was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and five Meritorious Service medals. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and four children.
Cpt. Dykeman was the leader of Fox Company. He had been awarded a host of medals, including the Purple Heart. Preudhomme's awards include the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. Yes, these men did not back down when the fighting got tough. They got tougher. If you don't like that, then go live as a slave in another country. You are killing mine.
Back to the post.
This is a very sad post, please forgive me. I wish I could make it different. I truly do. I've never one like this before, and I do not have the words. Therefore please allow me to use the words of our dear friends over at the Gathering of Eagles:
It is with great sadness that I must report that a very good Marine and a friend of the Gathering of Eagles, Lt. Col Max Galeai, has died in Iraq. Max was the CO of the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Regiment , which Gathering of Eagles Hawaii Chapter has been supporting with Kona coffee, during their deployment in al Anbar Iraq.I wish I had the proper words to say, but I do not. What a sad state of affairs when the only press you receive is if you are AGAINST the country so many of us love and are willing to give our lives for. May you rot in hell, AP.
Max died on Thursday, June 26th, 2008 along with two other good Marines, and a number of Iraqi local dignitaries that he was meeting with in al Karmah. An AQI suicide bomber , dressed as an Iraqi policemen detonated himself to cause the deaths. You can read the details here: Honolulu Advertiser.
I had come to consider Max Galeai a personal friend , having exchanged at least a 1/2 dozen e-mails with him recently over the coffee project, Operation Jarhead Java -Kona for the Corps.
Max's words to me were always so kind and respectful, I considered it an honor to receive each one of his communications.
Just last week a package arrived in the post for me , from Iraq. It was a beautiful United States flag, perfectly folded, along with a document personally signed by Lt.Col Galeai, stating exactly where and when it had been flown (Fallujah).
This flag has now become a sacred treasure to me .
Rest in eternal peace Max. Captain Dykeman and Cpl Preudhomme too. We will never forget you, and may God bless you greatly for your sacrifice for our dear country.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas.