Remembering The Real Reason For Memorial Day


I typically post a blog post every Monday on my blog, but this Monday this blog post will be different.

Today is  Memorial Day and it’s not just a day off work or a day where you can get sales on items you want. 

It’s a day to remember the loss. The loss of individuals that served our country. 

If you don’t know, my brother was wounded in combat in 2010 while serving in the Marines. My brother was assigned to the 2nd battalion, 9th Marines. His second deployment was to Helmand Province, into Marjah, Afghanistan. My brother survived his injuries, but 15 of his unit members lost their lives as well as his best friend, Eric Currier. 

This blog post is a tribute to them, their memories, and the real reason we have Memorial Day. 

Gone, But Not Forgotten 

HMC James Swink III

According to Military Times, HM3 Swink knew early in his young life he wanted to help people. He comes from a long time of military members including his father, grandfather, and siblings. 

He enlisted in the Navy and became a Corpsman. 

But before joining the military, at just 13 he would volunteer his time to provide horseback lessons for adults and children with special needs. 

He graduated from Yucca Valley High School in 2007.  

HM3 Swink was killed in a vehicle accident in Helmand Province, Afghanistan at the age of 20. 

You can read more about HM3 Swink here.

SGT. Joseph Bovia

Sgt. Bovia enlisted in the Marines and wanted to be a Marine from a very young age.

Sgt. Bovia volunteered to go back to Afghanistan and gave up a position stateside in order to return to combat. Sgt. Bovia was offered a different position in Afghanistan, but opted for a combat mission instead. 

Sgt. Bovia died at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan from his wounds at the age of 24. 

You can read more about Sgt. Bovia here

SSGT. Joshua J. Cullins

Ssgt. Cullins was from Simi Valley, California.

He was also an LA Police Officer and previously deployed before Afghanistan. 

Ssgt. Cullins was killed while investigating a roadside bomb, and a second explosion went off after he investigated the earlier roadside bomb. 

He left behind his father, step-mother, and two brothers. 

Ssgt. Cullins died of his injuries at the age of 28. 

You can read more about Ssgt Cullins here.

SGT. Frank R. Zaehringer III

Sgt. Zaehringer was from Reno, Nevada and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. 

He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

His family and friends would say he had a strong work ethic and was known to be funny.

He died while conducting a combat operation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Zaehringer was just 23 years old.  

You can read more about him here.

SGT. Garrett A. Misener

Sgt. Misener was from Memphis, Tennessee. 

He was previously deployed five times and three of those deployments were to Iraq. 

Sgt. Msener felt like God called him into the service and felt it was important to serve our country. 

Sgt. Misener was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) at the age of 25.

You can read more about Sgt. Misener here.

CPL. Stephen C. Sockalosky

Cpl. Sockalosky who was known by his middle name, Coty, was from Georgia. 

He loved the Atlanta Braves, and had goals of joining the Marines, getting married, and having a happy life.

Cpl. Sockalosky was wounded by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He just 21 years old. 

Cpl. Sockalosky left behind a wife, Brittany.

You can read more about Cpl. Sockalosky here

CPL. Jacob A. Tate

Cpl. Tate was from Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after graduating high school, Cpl. Tate joined the Marines.

He completed a previous tour in Iraq and left behind his newborn son, Jax, who he never got to meet. He also left behind his wife, Amy. 

Cpl. Tate was just 21 years old. 

You can read more about Cpl. Tate here.

CPL. John C. Bishop

Cpl. Bishop was from Columbus, Indiana. Before deploying to Afghanistan, Cpl. Bishop previously completed two tours in Iraq.   

Cpl. Bishop knew since he was a kid he wanted to be a Marine. His older brother was also a Marine as well. 

After graduating high school, Cpl. Bishop completed his lifelong dream and shipped off to bootcamp.

Cpl. Bishop had a little competition with his older brother about who was a tougher Marine. 

In the Marines is where Cpl. Bishop met his wife, Crystle. 

Cpl. Bishop left behind his wife, unborn child at the time of his death, and his young son. 

Cpl. Bishop was just 25 years old. 

You can read more about Cpl. John C. Bishop here.

LCPL. Joshua T. Twigg

Lcpl. Twigg was from Indiana, Pennsylvania. According to Military Times, Lcpl Twigg liked to hunt and fish. 

He joined the Marines after graduating high school and previously served in Iraq. 

Lcpl. Twigg volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan. 

He left behind his family and his long-time girlfriend, Christina. 

Lcpl. Twigg died after injuries received while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan at just 21 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl. Joshua T. Twigg here.

LCPL Timothy M. Jackson

According to the Fallen Heroes Project, Lcpl. Jackson was from Corbin, Kentucky. He was also known as “Matt” 

Lcpl. Jackson had a dream of becoming a Marine and previously participated in the JROTC program. 

Before deploying to Afghanistan, Lcpl. Jackson previously deployed to Iraq. 

He died while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan after he encountered an improvised explosive device (IED). 

Lcpl. Jackson was just 22 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl. Jackson here.

LCPL. Terry E. Honeycutt Jr.

Lcpl. Honeycutt was from Waldorf, Maryland. He had a dream of being a Marine since middle school and after just high school graduation he headed off to boot camp.

Lcpl. Honeycutt liked to play the guitar and drums in which he taught himself.

He died from wounds he received while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 

He left behind his family and many friends that loved him.

He was just 19 years old.

You can read more about Lcpl. Honeycutt here.

LCPL. Dakota R. Huse

Lcpl. Huse was from Greenwood, Louisiana. He was known to have a special bond with his brother and they would often would do things together during their teenage years. 

Lcpl. Huse was known to be caring, compassionate and dedicated to his family. 

He was on foot parole in Helmand Province, Afghanistan when he was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). 

Lcpl. Huse left behind his mother, siblings, and many extended family members that loved him dearly. 

Lcpl. Huse was just 19 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl. Huse here. 

LCPL. Michael E. Geary

Lcpl. Geary was from Concord, New Hampshire, but was born in Massachusetts. 

He moved to New Hampshire after losing his father when he was young. After September 11th occurred, Lcpl. Geary was deeply impacted and wanted to join the military. 

Lcpl. Geary was known for protecting others and volunteered often for point duty while in Afghanistan, which resulted in Lcpl. Geary losing his life from a sniper during an ambush.

Lcpl. Geary was just 20 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl Geary here.

LCPL. Maung P. Htaik

Lcpl. Htaik was from Hagerstown, Maryland. He was also known as Sam. Lcpl Htaik was born in Yangon, Myanmar. 

He moved to Singapore in 1998 and then to the United states in 2002 for a better education. 

Lcpl. Htaik was a devout Christian.

He died while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Lcpl. Htaik was just 20 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl. Htaik here.

LCPL. Joseph R. Giese

Lcpl. Gisese was from Winder, Georgia. He died while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 

Before deploying to Afghanistan, he was previously deployed in 2008 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Lcpl. Gisese left behind his wife, parents and siblings. 

Years later after his passing, part of his dog tag was found in Afghanistan. It was sent to Lcpl. Giese’s father. You can read more about the story here

Lcpl. Gisese was just 24 years old. 

You can read more about Lcpl. Giese here.

PFC. Eric Currier

Pfc Currier was not in the unit with my brother, but was one of my brother’s best friends. 

I would not write this blog post without including Eric. 

Pfc. Currier was from Londonderry, New Hampshire. Pfc. Currier was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. 

Pfc. Currier lived in Massachusetts until he relocated  to New Hampshire while in middle school. 

He enjoyed fishing, swimming, and basketball. He was known to be a friendly and enjoyable person. 

He completed his lifelong dream of joining the Marines after high school.  

Pfc. Currier left behind his wife and parents. 

Pfc. Currier was just 21 years old. 

You can read more about Pfc. Currier here.


Next time you walk across a wall of names of our fallen heroes, remember they aren’t just names, they are people who gave up their freedom, their lives, and their dreams. 

Some Christians would argue that God doesn’t like war, and I’m not here to debate that. I’m here to say that God does call people into service, whether that is a chaplain in the service or to serve in the infantry. 

Either way, these men and many others lost their lives, and remembering them and their legacy is the real reason we celebrate Memorial Day.


Ashley Marie

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