More than a motto, a way of life that distinguishes the Marine Corps bond from any other. It goes beyond teamwork – it is a brotherhood and lasts for life.
Latin for "always faithful," Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.
Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone, and Semper Fi reminds us of that. Once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.
There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.
"For 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation. We make Marines and we win battles."
~ Gen. Chalres C. Krulak, USMC (CMC): 5 May 1977
Honoring and Remembering:
Capt. Daniel B. Bartle
Capt. Nathan R. McHone
MSgt. Travis W. Riddick
Cpl. Jesse W. Stites
Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard
Cpl. Joseph D. Logan
The Department of Defense announced today [January 20. 2012] the deaths of six Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Capt. Daniel B. Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Washington
Capt. Nathan R. McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Illinois
MSgt. Travis W. Riddick, 40, of Centerville, Iowa
Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, 23, of North Beach, Maryland
Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, New Jersey
Cpl. Joseph D. Logan, 22, of Willis, Texas
These Marines died January 19 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned toMarine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
~ DoD News Release
Amazing Grace and Taps as performed at Arlington National Cemetery.
Captain Daniel Bartle grew up in Missoula, Mont., and moved to Ferndale while in high school where he graduated as valedictorian in 2002 from Ferndale High School.
Capt Bartle worked as a congressional page in Washington, D.C. for Rep. Rich Larsen, D-Lake Stevens. It was during this time that Daniel decided to serve his country and was sponsored by Rep Larsen into the Naval Academy. He majored in electrical engineering,minored in Spanish and graduated in 2006.
Bartle was commissioned into the Marine Corps in May 2006 and reported for duty with the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in July 2011. He was promoted to captain in 2010. Both Capt. Bartle and Capt McHone were pilots of the aircraft.
John Davis, Bartle’s brother-in-law who spoke on behalf of the family, said Bartle grew into a well-rounded man: He was fluent in Spanish, loved to lift weights and majored in electrical engineering. But his talents never went to his head.
He just quietly went about his way. He was an exceptional kid, just a really special person.
He always had a desire to serve others, and that led him to serve in the military.
The helicopter program looked challenging and he was always up for a challenge.
Capt Bartle was on his second deployment to Afghanistan and due to return home in September.
In a prepared statement, Capt. Bartle's older brother John said:
Men of humility and honor are rare in this world. Daniel lived these values every single day and inspired others to do the same. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend, and though his death saddens us greatly, we are finding consolation in all the love, laughter and joy that he gave to those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Capt. Daniel B. Bartle's personal awards include two Air Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO ISAF Medal
Capt. Bartle is survived by his father, John; his mother, Sandra; brother, John; and a sister.
Nathan "Nate" McHone was a 2001 graduate of Crystal Lake South High School. Nate graduated from Western Michigan University in 2005 and recieved his commission into the Marine Crops in September of 2005. He joined the squadron in October of 2009. This was Capt McHone's second deployment to Afghanistan. He was the pilot of the aircraft along with Capt. Bartle.
A fellow classmate, Ross Ryan, who is now a teacher and the wrestling coach at Crystal Lake High School said this about his former classmate:
I always admired and looked up to how hard of a worker he was, and that about him was so consistent – from in the classroom to whatever athletic endeavor he was involved in. You need to keep that attitude in all aspects of your life, not just one area, and he really had that down.
Bill Altmann, a social studies teacher at South, knew McHone as a student and a decorated athlete.
He was always very disciplined. I’d ask him to do something and he would thank me. He always did his work and he never took any shortcuts. He was always sincere and very respected.
Erick Syversen, another high school classmate said:
He was always friendly, really easygoing.
Base spokeswoman 1st Lt. Diann Olson released this statement:
These men were not only experienced Marines, but they were husbands, sons, brothers and dear friends. The memories of our fallen Marines are engraved in each and every one who had the privilege to know and serve alongside them, and we will never forget the sacrifice they made to our country and our Corps.
Capt. Nathan R. McHone's personal awards include two Air Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and NATO ISAF Medal.
Travis Riddick was a 1990 Centerville High School graduate who enlisted in the Marines upon graduation. He reported to the "Red Lions" in March of 2011. MSgt. Riddick, the crew chief of the helicopter, was on his fourth deployment, this was his second in Afghanistan and he had just five weeks remaining on this tour.
Riddick's father, John said that his son had served on the president's helicopter squadron and flew President Clinton and President Bush.
I guess we’re kind of a Marine Corps family. My dad was a Marine, my brother was a Marine, I was a Marine, his cousins were Marines.
Barbara Riddick said this about her son:
He was the most wonderful person in the world. He was a wonderful son and a wonderful father and the best Marine ever.
MSgt Travis W. Riddick's awards include six Air Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, seven Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal, NATO ISAF Medal, and Kuwait Liberation Medal.
MSgt Travis W. Riddick is survived by his wife, Jennifer Riddick; daughter, Victoria; son, Levi; son, Charles of the US Coast Guard; son, Matt; son, Jamie; son, Zachary; mother, Barbara; father, John; brother Tim and twin brother, Troy US Navy (ret).
Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, 23, of North Beach, Md., was a CH-53 crew chief who had been with the “Red Lions” since March 2009. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 2008. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan.
There was virtually no personal information to be found on Cpl Stites. Perhaps it was due to confusion over his home of record.
Stites' father in law told The Baltimore Sun that Stites grew up in Florida, went to high school there and never lived in Maryland. The mayor of North Beach, MD also says he knew no one by that name. One other site listed his home of record as Palatka, Florida.
A news article released just a few hours ago reports that Cpl Jesse Stites lived in Roxana, Illinois between 1993 and 2003 and that his father passed away just 18 months ago.
Gary Stamm, a friend of Jesse Stites' late father, John Stites said:
He was a great guy. He was a straight-A student and on the wrestling team.
Stamm said that Jesse enlisted in the Marines after high school and that Jesse's mother, Carol, had moved back to Roxana shortly after her husband died. There are several of Jesse's relatives living in the area.
On the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Facebook Page there was this entry from his aunt, Martha Stites:
God bless to all the families who lost love ones in Afganistan. Thank you God for each and everyone of these brave men.and for the sacifice they gave for their Country, a very special thank you to our nephew Cpl. Jessie W Stites. We love and will miss you always, and forever.
Cpl Jesse W. Stites' awards include three Air Medals, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and NATO ISAF Medal.
Cpl Jesse W Stites is survived by his wife and his mother, Carol.
Kevin Reinhard was a 2005 graduate of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen where he was a starter on the varsity volleyball team. After graduation, he attended both Ramapo College and Middlesex County College before enlisting in the Marines in the spring of 2008.
St Joe assistant principal and volleyball coach, Miguel Cabrita said:
He worked hard at everything he did. He was a no-fear kind of guy. We used to use the expression, ‘Run through a brick wall,’ and he would almost literally take you up on that. He was a go-getter.
Cpl Reinhard, who repoted to HMH-363 was a CH-53 crew chief and on his second deployment in Afghanistan. He had just a few weeks left on this deployment.
Reinhard’s family submitted this obituary to the Star-Ledger in New Jersey:
A loving son who would do anything and everything for his family, a young man who would put his friends and loved ones before himself on any day, and best friend and confidant to his older sister and only sibling (Kathleen Marie).
Kevin's sister, Kathleen said the family had had a video chat with him via Skype for the first time on the day before his death. She expected a call the next day which was her birthday and instead the family received the news of his death.
He was my best friend. We were very, very close. He was my confidant. We’re all dealing with this as best as we can. We’ll miss him terribly.
I found it heart wrenching when I discovered this 2011 letter to the editor from Cpl Reinhard:
A LETTER FROM THE FRONT LINE....
Dear Woodbridge Community...
My name is Kevin J. Reinhard, I am a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. I am currently attached to HMH-363, the Lucky Red Lions, a Marine Heavy lift helicopter squadron currently forwardly deployed to the Helmand river valley in southern Afghanistan. I just want to write you this letter to show some appreciation for all of the packages you are sending. It brings me and my fellow Marines some motivation when we receive packages. It reinforces the fact that while this war may be controversial, the American people still support their sons and daughters who are out here fighting. While I’m here I will fly a flag for you, the flag will come with a picture of the crew members of the aircraft with the flag and CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter as a background. The Flag will also be signed by the crew members. It is the least I can do for you for all you have done for my Marines and myself.
Cpl. Kevin J Reinhard USMC/6173 ~ Source
Cpl. Kevin J Reinhard's awards include three Air Medals, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and NATO ISAF Medal.
Cpl Kevin J Reinhard is survived by his mother, Kathleen; his father, James; and his sister, Kathleen.
Joseph "Joey" Logan was a graduate of Willis High School. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008 and joined Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in May as an aerial observer.
Cpl. Logan had such a strong desire to become a Marine that even a bad fall that severed arteries and veins in his arm could stop him from pursuing his dream.
His mother, Deborah Logan said:
He had lots of surgeries and he overcame it and he brought himself back because that was his love: He wanted to be a Marine.
Deborah added this about her son's assignment in the Marines:
They went in when the Marines on the ground were in trouble. They went in and got them out. That was his job, and he loved it.
His grandmother, Carolyn Miehlke said:
He was a brave and courageous young man.
Cpl Logan's father called him "GI Joey" as he was growing up. The two spent a great deal of time trout fishing the streams and lakes of the Rocky Mountains and up through British Columbia. Thursday, the two spoke at around 2:00 pm and discussed their upcoming fishing trip to the White River in Arkansas.
Cpl. Joseph D. Logan's awards include an Air Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and NATO ISAF Medal.
Cpl. Joseph D. Logan is survived by his wife, Melissa; his father; his mother, Deborah; a sister, Andrea and a brother, Thomas who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.
"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels, monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, Kestrel9000, TheFatLadySings, Ekaterin and me, JaxDem. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.
Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.
Any Soldier – (Marine, Sailor, Airman or CoastGuardsman) Provides detailed information on sending care packages or cards and letters to deployed service members.
Books For Soldiers - View requests for and send troops books, DVDs, games and relief supplies.
Fisher House – Provides a “home away from home” for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.
Homes For Our Troops – Building specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans at no cost to the veterans.
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans – The VA estimates 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. There are ways to get involved or donate at the link.
Netroots for the Troops (NFTT) – This non-profit raises money for the assembly, mailing and delivery of care packages to American military in war zones.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation - Provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.
USA Together - "It's like craigslist for Wounded Warriors". Brings together injured service members who need assistance as they recover, with the people who want to help them.
Veterans Green Jobs - Helps transition veterans into their communities and find career opportunities in environment sustainable sectors of our economy.
Welcome Back Veterans - Committed to providing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment to our veterans and their families in a public/private partnership
Wounded Warrior Project - Their vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded warriors in this nation's history.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.