MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – “All of them.” What had first started off as a single radio message to higher headquarters became the focus point for 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment’s Chaplain as he tried to the best of his ability to recreate what Company E had been through on their last deployment.
“The area is called Mian Poshteh, and it was an area that Echo Company spent a great deal of time in during their last deployment to Afghanistan,” said Navy Lt. Terry A. Roberts, a chaplain with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Chapel, who was the previous chaplain for 2/8 during their last deployment. “I’ve always been into miniature models ever since I was young, and I wanted to make something for the Marines who could look at it, see a miniature Marine and say ‘I was there.’”
The representation depicted Marines on one end of the display, some behind walls, others laying up against the road and some in combat stances as they inched their ways toward three buildings on the opposite side where their opposition awaited them. There, standing in the open were insurgents, laying down fire trying to repel the assault. Even though there were no sounds of gun fire, animals or troops barking orders, one could almost imagine the chaos that was going.
That’s exactly the reaction that Roberts received as he walked into 2/8 on a cold Friday morning. Corpsmen and Marines alike gathered around and pointed to locations that stood out to them the most. Throughout the crowd could be heard a wide variety of exclamations, “I remember that donkey,” or “hey, remember we were here and the bullet holes were on that side of the wall.”
The model was named after a now some-what famous radio message that was relayed from Echo Company’s first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Phillip Lafountain.
“At that time Echo Company was the unit that was deepest in the enemy territory and assaulting the enemy,” said Roberts. “A call had come from higher up asking how many of their Marines were outside the wire, to which 1st Sgt. Phillip replied, ‘All of them.’”
Roberts said he wanted to capture a moment that defined the battalion, and the courage and commitment he saw there was exactly what he was looking for.
“It’s in honor of the 14 Marines we lost in 2009,” said Roberts. “Lance Cpl. Seth Sharp died at that bridge, and we baptized five Marines in that same canal.”
Roberts would go on to spend a great deal of time with Company E, and routinely conducts sermons outside one of the buildings. He recalls a time during the deployment he had just finished a sermon when insurgents began firing at them with small arms weapons.
“There was constant barrage of enemy small arms, occasionally we would also get rocket or (rocket-propelled grenade),” added Roberts.
Once 2/8 came home, Roberts would go on to try and preserve that moment in history as accurately as he could. He started in the summer of 2010 and near Thanksgiving he put the last finishing touches to the model.
Each piece meticulously painted, from the chicken, goats, mortar walls and Marines, Roberts tried to recreate it to the best of his ability.
“It’s a victory that we captured the village, but a great loss that we lost some fine Marines that we will never be able to get back,” said Roberts, an eighth generation service member . “Now I’m doing this to preserve the history, something that can be seen by people who go by the museum, so that they can see what 2/8 went through.”
The Museum of the Marine Corps heard about the miniature military models and contacted Roberts in an effort to get one. He obliged and now plans to give them his 2/8 one, which he has named “All of them”.