Sgt. Hook writes today about two anonymous Marines that gave their lives this week:
The two headlights coming our way caught my eye initially, and then the sounds of the HUMVEE rhythmically driving over the steel plates of the beach sounding like a slow moving train on a rickety old rail system filled my ears. As the vehicle passed the first group of onlookers, they silently snapped to the position of attention and rendered a hand salute. A VIP perhaps? It became obvious that there was a second HUMVEE following the first, as group after group of Soldiers now lining both sides of steel beach snapped to and saluted. It would soon be our turn.
As the lead vehicle arrived at our location we too assumed the proper position and rendered honors though there was no command given, we acted on instinct. We stood rigid holding our salutes until the second of the two flag draped caskets riding in the back of the desert tan HUMVEEs passed, and we silently dropped our salutes. Two Marines had given their all in defense of our country and were now going home, to the land of the free, receiving a final goodbye from a group of tired and sweaty Army aviators, mechanics, crewmembers, and technicians some with their flight suits tied around their wastes, others saluting with hands turned black from oil and dirt and still others fighting back tears for the two anonymous men whom they’ve never met, but knew all too well. Silently we went back to work as the sun rested behind the craggy mountain tops turning the sky orange. The winds continued to blow.
The Marines who Sgt. Hook saluted were:
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Pfc. Daniel B. McClenney, 19, of Shelbyville, Tenn
Lance Cpl. Juston T. Thacker, 21, of Bluefield, W.Va.
Both Marines died June 24 from hostile fire near Bari Khout, Afghanistan. They were both assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.