Runners conclude Marine Tribute to the Fallen
The ninth annual United States Marine Corps Tribute to the Fallen Run came to its conclusion Nov. 7 with a final lap around Barton Field and a solemn closing ceremony. Fort Gordon Marines and Sailors covered 1,500 miles during the 10-day nonstop tribute to the fallen which began Oct. 29. Often, they were accompanied by a Soldier or an Airman wanting to honor the fallen heroes.
On the morning of Nov. 7, Marine Sgt. Daniel Barrera passed the ammo pouch filled with 21 rounds, which was carried by each runner, to Marine Cpl. Austin Meese, the last runner in the 2013 Marine Tribute to the Fallen.
Meese was joined by Fort Gordon Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors of the U.S. Marine Corps Detachment, Company D, Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion; 15th Regimental Signal Brigade, 369th Signal Battalion, 442nd Signal Battalion, 447th Signal Battalion, 551st Signal Battalion, 73rd Ordnance Battalion;
Navy Information Operations Command Georgia; and the Air Force 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group in a final lap around Barton Field.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Grenz, with the Fort Gordon U.S. Marine Corps Detachment and narrator for the closing ceremony of the tribute, talked about the opening ceremony that took place 10 days before.
“At 10:25 [a.m.] on Oct. 29th, the commanding officer of the Marine Detachment, Fort Gordon ordered 21 rounds to be delivered to the firing detail before us now,” Grenz explained. “These 21 rounds have traveled over 1,500 miles without cease during the past 10 days. Every mile paying tribute to a Marine or [Navy medical] corpsman that has given the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. The final lap pays tribute to all service men and women that have paid the ultimate sacrifice since the founding of this great nation and all the men and women who may pay the ultimate sacrifice in the future of this great nation.” he continued. “Let us remember these fallen heroes as the 21 rounds are delivered to the firing detail.”
Fort Gordon U. S . Marine Corps Detachment commander, Capt. Dallas Butler, talked about the debt of gratitude to the fallen, and thanked his brothers and sisters in the Army, Navy and Air Force for all their support during the past 10 days.
“While they may not have been individually recognized, your fallen heroes, their sacrifices, and their family and friends are equally in our thoughts and prayers this morning,” Butler said. “These heroes are forever a part of our nation’s history. They are gone, they are terribly missed, but they are not, and they will not be forgotten.”
Following the remarks, the 21 rounds of ammo, which had been carried and passed on to each Marine runner during the tribute, were fired off and TAPS was played.
One of those who attended the closing ceremony, Raymond Schneider, a retired Marine and board member of the Lt. Col. Jimmie Dyess Marine Corps League of Augusta, stressed the importance of remembering that we are one band of brothers and sisters in arms. “When push comes to shove there is only one group of [U.S. military] fighting men and women,” Schneider said. “ They deserve our credit and those who have fallen deserve everything we can do for them and their families.”