Monday, May 31, 2010

Mettle of Honor: Part IV Heroes of the 3rd LAR Co. D 2nd Platoon 2006

August 20, 2006: Company D, 2nd Platoon, set out in a convoy of three LAVs on a routine patrol in Rawah with their six man crews. Both Cpl Hand and Cpl Galvez had recovered from their injuries and were with their teams again: Galvez in the rear LAV and Hand in one up ahead. Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, 21, from Bend, OR, was also in the last LAV. For Galvez, it was his first day back on full regular duty.

About 2:00 PM the [last LAV in the convoy] hit an IED that consisted of multiple artillery shells with a fuel accelerant.

The IED exploded through the bottom of the LAV, killing [Cpl Galvez], Lance Cpl Randy Newman and HN Chad Kenyon. The other three crewmen were severely injured.

Lance Cpl. Paul Torres reported:
"[The vehicle] was engulfed in flames. Not waiting for his own vehicle to stop, [Cpl. Hand] jumped out and rushed to the burning hulk to render aid to the Marines inside. He crawled up on the vehicle while it was on fire and pulled out Staff Sgt. Scott, who had sustained severe burns. It was a dangerous situation as rounds began to cook off and explosives inside the
vehicle detonated. ... Scott was able to recover from his injuries and may not be alive today if not for the quick thinking of Hand."

The other two injured Marines continue their recoveries.

And so, on August 26, 2006 in Rawah, the 3rd LAR again gathered to mourn its lost brothers.

Cpl. Adam A. Galvez' family said that the "last email received from Adam in Iraq, the day before his death, concluded with "I love America." And indeed, he did."

"[Galvez] was “always willing to go the extra mile” to help others, according to Lance Cpl. Alberto Garcia. “He was a real motivator when he came to us,” said Garcia. “He was our driver and our mechanic, but most of all he was a great friend. I think I speak for everybody – we love you, we miss you, take care, God bless,” said Garcia.

On June 21, 2007, Galvez was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps
Commendation with Combat Valor for his actions on July 29, 2006.

Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman wrote “I thank God that he gave me such a good mother,” in a letter he recently sent home from Iraq. He wrote that his father was his “best friend”. Newman had survived two previous IED attacks. He was postumously awarded a Purple Heart for injuries received in April 2006, and the Gold Star for injuries that resulted in his death.

Pfc. Christopher Grimm [remembered] Newman [as one who] put others first consistently, "often [eating] last during his service in Iraq to make sure fellow Marines had enough food."

Cpl. Benjamin T. Bosse said Newman was “from Oregon, and damn proud of it, but yet, he was even prouder to be a Marine. He wasn’t just any Marine, he was a brother to us. He joined our family,” said Bosse, who was Newman’s roommate back in the U.S. Newman was also a man with goals, said Bosse, who always had dreams of “becoming this, or becoming that.” “I remember him ... telling me, ‘You know, I may be a driver, but I’m gonna be a gunner,’” said Bosse. “And it happened – he was a gunner.

Newman's mother said ""Randy was called to be a Marine, just as Gideon was called by God to be a strong and valiant warrior - it says that in Judges 6:12. ... "So remember my son as a great and valiant warrior, not only for his country, but for something much bigger - a valiant warrior of our God, Lord Jesus Christ."

Seaman Chadwick T. Kenyon, "Doc", one of the 2nd Platoon's beloved hospital corpsmen, was remembered by Lance Cpl. Gary M. Cassen as a “person of principle, who did everything he could to the best of his abilities.”

Kenyon...was someone who would “put his life on the line for others,” said Cassen. In fact, he was “glad to do it.” “The Marine Corps and the Navy were lucky to have a person of this caliber,” said Cassen. “Chad loved his Marines as much as he loved his Navy.”

“Rounds would start going off and Chad would be in the front running and gunning,” said Cassen... “After everything had calmed down, we would be like, ‘Hey Chad, you need to stay in the vehicle until someone gets hurt.’ But he would look you dead in the eyes and say, ‘And what? Let you have all the fun?’”

"What he was really proud of was how others in his unit took him as one of their own, even though Kenyon was a Navy sailor and not a Marine, his mother said. "He was very proud to have earned their respect," [she continued] "He was a Marine to them."

2nd Platoon did not lose another man during their last month in Iraq. But for the wider group, the 3rd LAR, Company D had one more tragedy before the deployment ended.

Lance Cpl. Shane P. Harris, of I Marine Expeditionary Force was killed Sept. 3 by a pressure plate IED while conducting combat operations. His lieutenant said that Lance Cpl. Harris was the best driver and rifleman in the Corps.

Harris had been a volunteer firefighter with the Cabo-Lucero Volunteer Fire Department in San Miguel County, New Mexico. Harris was home-schooled and was an outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed hiking, hunting, fishing and skiing. In a letter home, Harris once wrote, "Mom, if I don't fight over there, then they will come fight over here, and if that happens, your grandkids would not get to grow up free like I did."

The Dragoons returned home with the 3rd LAR in September. As is the way of Marines, they have continued to honor their brothers by staying in touch with them and with the families of those who gave their lives, and keeping memories alive.

Others in the company were wounded and survived. We honor them all. Their heroism is true. Out of respect for privacy, I've omitted most stories and names of those wounded, and am referring only to information found in easily located official news reports. If you were a member of the 3rd LAR, Company D, 2nd Platoon, and wish your name and experience included, please let me know and I will be honored to post it.

At the end of the story, we want our heroes alive. We want them to ride off into the sunset with their girl and live happily ever after. That didn't happen in 2006 for everyone in Company D. This is not a movie, there is no script. But courage is never tragic, and honor is only earned in real life.

Because these men of the 3rd LAR, Company D, were willing to take those ultimate risks, they brought about happy endings we may never hear but must be assured of.  The price of liberty is always dear. It is worth the price, for all else is dross. Mothers, fathers, wife, brothers, Marines, and all who love Chad, Adam, Tony, Christian, Phillip, Jason, Randy, and Shane: we will always remember them and pray for them and for you. May your hearts have solace. We will never forget what you have given us in your brave and valorous sons.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine.

Links to the series of all 5 posts:
Part I Introduction
Part II Body Armor Saves Lives
Part III Greater Love Has No Man: 4 killed by Bomb
Part IV The Whole Universe: 3 killed by IED, 1 killed by IED
Part V Apprendix: Links to articles about these men & the 2nd Platoon


  1. Mettle of honor? Isn't it Medal?

  2. It is actually a play on words. "Mettle" means bravery, courage, fortitude: "The quality of mind enabling one to face danger or hardship resolutely".

    The Medal of Honor is an award rarely given. These men are not MoH recipients, but they shared those same qualities of character with such heroes as surely as if they were.

  3. Thank you for sharing.



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