The 1st Battalion 9th Marines, Dan’s unit (MomDay Monday – God Speed), has lost another brother.
Five months ago & just a month after being deployed, the 1/9 had their first casualty (MomDay Monday – Honor the Fallen). This week, Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson of Waseca, Minnesota was killed in Afghanistan during an attack by a suicide bomber. Like Dan, he graduated from high school in 2012. Like Dan, he was a starter for his school football team. And Like Dan, his family & friends say that he always wanted to be a Marine. But tonight his family mourns. Tonight the entire 1/9 family mourns.
Dawn Manzella, whose son Jason is a Marine with the 1/9, wrote this piece. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it. It embodies what these young men, whose unit is dubbed “The Walking Dead”, do every day & what they will continue to do until they come home.
1/9 Walk On!
Words cannot express how heavy my heart is for all of you.
Continue your mission with your heads held high, with more conviction and determination than ever for your fallen brothers .
When you face adversity
When your brothers are injured
When a hero has fallen,
Never forget your 1/9 family is walking behind you with support and love in our hearts as long as you need us.
Untill you come home,
After you’ve been home,
You will never walk ALONE!♥
By Dawn Manzella
I wrote recently about my nephew, Dan, heading to Afghanistan with the Marines. (MomDay Monday – God Speed) Sadly, almost a month to the day after his unit left, they’ve had their first casualty.
Lance Cpl. Christopher O. Grant, 20, of Richwood, LA, was killed Sunday, October 20 during combat operations in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
I feel the need to honor this young man who is gone too soon. Because he was Dan’s friend. Because he was brave. Because he chose to serve when he could have forged a life at home doing something else. But most of all, because, God forbid the unthinkable were to happen, I would hope that complete strangers would honor my family’s Marine.
Please pray for Chris, his family & all those serving around the world. Pray like you’ve never prayed before.
All I can do is honor the fallen here.
Chris (l) & Dan leaving on their first deployment.
My nephew is a Marine. He’s wanted to be a Marine since he was about 10 years old. It’s all he ever talked about.
Last night he got on a bus to begin a journey that will take him more than 7,000 miles away to Afghanistan.
Yeah… THAT Afghanistan.
I have a knot in my stomach. It’s not nearly as big as the knots in KK’s or her hubby’s or their other sons’ stomachs. But it’s still there. I mean, Dan isn’t old enough to hoist a beer to celebrate here at home… well, not legally at least (I remember your graduation party, Dan)… but abroad, as part of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, he’s going to be called on to do… who knows what.
Back in March during a training exercise in Nevada, 7 Marines were killed when a mortar exploded at the wrong time. It was Dan’s Battalion that was training there. KK’s Hubby texted Dan when he heard about the explosion but he heard nothing back. All anyone heard was that 7 Marines were killed. It was almost 11 pm when Dan finally reached his dad & let him know he was okay but those hours of nothing were nauseating. And again… I’m just the aunt. I can’t imagine being the parent. As a friend whose husband is currently deployed at sea told me tonight, “The way you felt when you didn’t know where Dan was in Nevada? You’ll feel that way every time you watch the news & hear something about a problem in Afghanistan.”
I suppose I will. I suppose we all will. I have a feeling it will be like a dull ache that never quite goes away but that you can forget about in rare moments.
The Kids & I went shopping tonight to put together a care package. My Navy wife friend gave me lots of good tips & we’ll be shipping something out to Afghanistan later this week. I figure it’s the least we can do to support the efforts of someone who has willingly put himself in harm’s way.
And now all we can do is pray. And wait for him to come home.
God speed, Daniel.
The Kids’ cousin is a Marine. In all likelihood, he will be heading to a not-so-peaceful region of the world in the near future.
The Boy, trying to wrap his mind around what exactly his cousin will be doing: “So Dan’s going some place where our soldiers got rid of the bad government & we’re trying to help start a good government. I think it’s Philadelphia.”
The Fresh Prince’s mom was right to move him to Bel Air.