Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment paused their combat operations to honor a fallen hero at the chapel during a memorial service here Dec. 7.
Cpl. Michael Craig Ledsome, 24, of Austin, Texas, was killed in action Nov. 25 while conducting combat operations in the Habbaniyah area.
“Today I have the honor to speak on behalf of Michael Craig Ledsome, a great man who has passed away,” said Sgt. Mario O. Huerta, a radio operator with Jump Platoon. “He was a great father, husband and friend.”
Ledsome served as the battalion commander’s driver for the battalion’s Jump Platoon under Regimental Combat Team 5.
During the ceremony, the Marines had an opportunity to honor Ledsome with their own personal reflections.
“When they asked me to write this thing for ‘Leddy,’ I said yes right away,” Huerta said. “This is hard, though. I think to myself how I can write this passage about a person who lived a book. I mean millions of pages worth in his lifetime. Well you can’t write a book, but we can sure honor him.”
The 22-year-old rifleman from Dallas said Ledsome was one of the best Marines with whom he served.
“You’ll hear me say that a lot, great and the best, but that’s what he was,” Huerta said. “He was always all out, ‘balls to the wall.'”
Ledsome was the type that didn’t know how to say no or ever ask why, Huerta said.
He heard it, did it, and went on his way with a huge smile, he said.
It wasn’t just Huerta. Other Marines saw his positive attitude also.
“You were either playing basketball or talking on the phone,” said Lance Cpl. Lindsey J. Wright, a radio operator with Communications Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company. “Before you left to go back to your room, I would always ask you, ‘Where you going tomorrow?’ Your answer would be, ‘I don’t know, wherever the colonel wants to.'”
The 20-year-old from Hampton, S.C., said Ledsome was everything that is Texas.
“Craig was a big Texas Longhorns fan,” Huerta said. “Well, Texas everything; Rangers, Mavericks and Cowboys. We always talked about it.”
That’s why Ledsome and Huerta got along so well, he said.
“We were going to the Red River Shootout, a Longhorn game in Dallas where I’m from, or hit 6th Street in Austin where he said he was going to show me the ropes,” Huerta said. “We would always go back in forth. I always let him do most of the talking because he would just crack me up.”
Ledsome also told Huerta about his son and wife and how they were happy.
“I know a lot of married people, none as loyal, happy or faithful as Craig Ledsome,” Huerta said.
Huerta is just happy his friend is happier now.
“Well brother, I’m glad you’re in happiness,” he said. “Peace. And when my time comes, maybe you can show me the ropes after all. Jump Platoon loves you. Communications Platoon loves you. 3/2 loves you. Rest in peace Craig, we all love you.”
Wright said it was a pleasure to be graced with Ledsome’s presence.
“It was more of an honor for me knowing you than you knowing me,” Wright said. “You were older than me, and you taught me a lot of things. Most of it was about how to keep a great marriage. You were perfect in every way, the perfect father, husband, brother, son and friend.”
Ledsome enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif., in 2005. Following boot camp, he completed Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton and later earned the military occupational specialty of radio operator at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. Ledsome reported to Jump Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. He deployed in July 2006 to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He completed pre-deployment training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.His awards include the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
“This, then, is the freedom-loving nation for which Cpl. Michael Craig Ledsome courageously fought and courageously died,” said Lt. Col. Todd S. Desgrosseilliers, 43, battalion commander who is from Auburn, Maine. “He heard the call to duty and volunteered to serve our nation without fear or without hesitation. He chose to endure hardship, live selflessly and in the case of this bravest of men to make the ultimate sacrifice.”
By Cpl. Ray Lewis