CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2011 |
To honor the memory of four Marine comrades killed in Iraq and to show respect for all military personnel sent to foreign lands, a small but determined group trudged up a steep hill at Camp Pendleton on Friday morning as the nation observed Veterans Day. At precisely the date and time when World War I officially ended, giving rise to Armistice Day — the forerunner to Veterans Day — the group erected a 13-foot cross. The cross replaced one placed on the hill in 2003 by the Marines before they deployed to Iraq.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2012 |
In the early days of the U.S. battle with the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the four Marines from Camp Pendleton were among those troops on the front lines in Anbar province. The two enlisted Marines would not survive those violent days in the spring of 2004: one was killed by "friendly fire" when a mortar round went awry and one was mortally wounded while hurling a grenade to repel an enemy assault, bravery for which he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. The two officers survived, only later to be killed in other battles in other parts of the country: one by gunfire while leading a raid in Baghdad to kill or capture a "high-value" target in 2007 and one by stepping on a buried bomb while scouting an attack position near the Syrian border in 2005.
May 12, 2007 |
Maj. Douglas Zembiec, a Marine Corps officer profiled in the Los Angeles Times magazine in 2004, was killed while leading a raid on insurgents in Baghdad, officials reported Friday. Details of his death on Thursday were sketchy. In an age when many prefer military personnel to be diffident and reluctant to engage in violence, Zembiec was proudly a throwback. "One of the most noble things you can do is kill the enemy," he once said.
July 20, 2007 |
Over the four decades Robert M. Gates has worked in the federal government's national security bureaucracy, he has earned a reputation as a cool and analytical operator who keeps his inner feelings from even his closest colleagues. But Wednesday night, at the end of an address to the Marine Corps Assn., the Defense secretary nearly came to tears telling the story of a decorated Marine officer who was killed in Iraq in May after volunteering for a second combat tour.
July 29, 2007 |
I wasn't surprised when I heard that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates had nearly broken into tears talking about the life and death of Marine Maj. Douglas Zembiec. A lot of us who knew Zembiec felt the same way. I first met him in Fallouja in 2004 and was immediately drawn to him. He was charismatic, courageous and candid -- in all, a reporter's delight. Indeed, some of the passages Gates read during his speech were from my stories, which included a long profile of Zembiec.
April 29, 2004 |
On Monday, Echo Company battled insurgents for two hours. One Marine was killed and 15 were wounded in the latest and bloodiest of numerous skirmishes. Then four Marines -- from the battle-hardened company, part of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of the 1st Marine Division -- asked a Protestant chaplain to arrange a battlefield baptism. "I've been talking to God a lot during the last two firefights," said Lance Cpl. Chris Hankins, 19, of Kansas City, Mo.