MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- After 14 months of planning and building, three of the Corps’s financial community were immortalized in a memorial, dedicated in a ceremony at Camp Johnson, Friday.
Capt. Sean Brock, Gunnery Sgt. John Fry and Cpl. David Bass, were former students of Camp Johnson’s Financial Management School and all served as financial technicians or financial officers.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Anthony M. Garcia, finance officer at Camp Johnson, spearheaded the project. Garcia contacted Master Sgt. Eric Talley, operations chief, comptroller Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and fellow finance technician, to help with the construction of the memorial display.
“I was asked if I could build the memorial display,” Talley said. “I told Chief Warrant Officer Garcia that I would be honored to build a display case.” Talley added it was such an honor to be asked to build the display, that he would do it at no cost to the school.
Talley added he knew Fry as a private first class and a lance corporal when both were with 2nd Force Service Support Group disbursing - now known as 2nd Marine Logistics Group. Both Fry’s wife, Malia, and daughter, Kathryn, attended the memorial service.
In 2002 Fry requested, and was approved, for a lateral move as a explosive ordnance disposal technician. He reported to Camp Lejeune in June 2005 and was immediately assigned for duty with 8th Engineer Support Battalion as an EOD Technician in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device near Habbaniyah, Iraq.
Inside the case Talley built, stands a weapon in a pair of boots, with a Kevlar helmet and dog tags. The display will stand inside the entrance to the Financial Management School.
“Our heroes are gone, but they’re not forgotten and they’re still a part of our family,” Garcia added. “The entire financial community came together to make this memorial possible.”
Garcia added that in the past, it was not common for finance Marines to be attached to infantry units; it is something that was becoming more common place.
“Every Marine is a basic rifleman, I think finance Marines are proving that on a daily basis,” Garcia said about finance Marines being on the front lines with the infantry. Garcia worked with Fry, who died after being wounded by an improvised explosive device near Habbaniyah, Iraq.
For Tammy Delle, the emotion of Friday’s memorial service was like going to her son’s funeral all over again. But she said it was worth it.
“(Bass) very much believed in the purpose - that he was there to defend his country,” she said. “I think even now that he has passed, he still has a voice for that purpose - the memorial gives him that voice.”
Bass was fatally wounded during convoy movement when the seven-ton truck for which he was providing security rolled over in a flash flood near Al Asad, Iraq.
“We gather to treasure and praise these brothers who have been lost to us and thereby make the memory more meaningful,” said Col. Grover Lewis III, commanding officer, Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools. “If you want to see the real monument of the men we memorialize today - just look around.”
“The financial community in the Marine Corps is a tightly-knit group of a little more than 1,200 Marines,” said Lt. Col. Michael Cordero, commanding officer of the Financial Management School who had worked with Brock in the past. “Everybody knows everybody.”
Brock, a finance officer, was fatally wounded during a mortar attack on the 1st Marine Division Headquarters in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Feb. 2, 2005.
The school has also dedicated three classrooms in the Marines’ honor.
“I wish that we could seal the case now and never have to add another set of dog tags, but this war is not over yet,” Talley added.