Marines from 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment paused to honor two fallen Marines Oct. 26 at their forward operating base here in the heart of Fallujah.
Sgt. Brock A. Babb, 40, and Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines, 26, were killed in action Oct. 15 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah. They were honored and remembered by their fellow Marines in a memorial service. Babb was from Evansville, Ind., and Hines was from Westfield, Ill. Both Marines were assigned to the battalion’s C Company and served with Regimental Combat Team 5.
“I am here before you today because we’re compelled to honor Sgt. Babb and Lance Cpl. Hines, for they paid the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties as United States Marines,” said Lt. Col. Harold Vanopdorp, battalion commander for 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. “I say compelled because that’s what Marines do. They pay tribute and honor to their fallen brothers
“We do it because we share a love for our fellow Marines few can understand and few can come between,” Vanopdorp added. “At some point, we come to realize, when a Marine falls, we have lost someone very special.”
Vanopdorp described both Marines as dedicated volunteers who stepped forward to deploy with the battalion to Iraq. They left behind wives and children, parents and friends to serve alongside their fellow Marines in combat.
He said Babb led his Marines in a “Sgt. Stryker-esque-like fashion” and filled many roles to his Marines, that of teacher, mentor and “plain-old tough guy.”
Hines, Vanopdorp said, was a reliable team member, whom his Marines grew to trust, but mostly, “he was a best friend who will be sorely missed.”
Capt. Michael Mayne, C Company’s commander, addressed his Marines gathered to pay their respects to their fallen brothers. He told his Marines that they shared with Babb and Hines a common heritage as Marines and brotherhood that was cemented together during the pre-deployment training and shared combat experiences.
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By Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva