CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -- A memorial service was held in a crowded chapel here, Jan. 17, for Lance Cpl. Jonathan K. Price who was fatally wounded while conducting operations in Al Anbar’s provincial capital city four days earlier.
Price deployed to Iraq in August 2004 with Battery L, Headquarters Battalion, as part of a security detachment providing security for the Marine camp here.
Many who spoke during the service characterized the 19-year-old Woodlawn, Ill., native as a selfless, dedicated and caring Marine with a big heart and an ever-present smile that had a positive effect on everything he touched.
“He was a solid Marine,” said 1st Lt. Brian W. Schweers, Price’s platoon commander. “He was unselfish and had a good heart. He will be missed by all and this world will be a little bit darker from his absence.”
While deployed to Iraq, Price took on many roles within his platoon. He served as a rifleman and conducted more than 150 combat patrols to root out insurgents and weapons caches in the surrounding area. Additionally, Price served as a spotter for U.S. military working dog teams when they accompanied his squad on patrol or during operations. He operated the squad’s metal detector when conducting weapons cache searches. Price also served as the squad’s dedicated combat photographer, capturing images of suspected insurgents and their safe houses as well as other imagery for intelligence gathering purposes.
He contributed his linguistic skills to the platoon by becoming its unofficial “talker” when they did not have an interpreter. Devoted to his work, Price became proficient in Arabic and with his self-taught language skills he often aided his fellow Marines as a translator during operations. Price used his knowledge of Arabic to build friendships with local Iraqis, allowing him to gather actionable intelligence against the insurgency here.
“In each of these capacities he excelled. Rarely have I seen a young man give so much and excel in every endeavor,” said Capt. Ryan E. Crais, Price’s commanding officer. “Price was a consummate war fighter. Like the flip of a switch, he could go from a friendly conversation with locals on a patrol to quickly shifting gears, snapping up every vehicle he saw and capturing insurgents. He had that special balance, the kind required for an insurgency, a compliment to him as a war fighter, and an inspiration to every Marine here.”
Many said that the most valued contribution Price brought to his platoon was his ability to boost his fellow Marines spirits and his dedication to the mission here and the men he fought with. Price would often be seen handing out candy to Iraqi children while on patrol or providing a smile to a fellow Marine whose morale was low.
“He really believed in what he was doing over here regarding helping out the local Iraqis and their children,” Crais said. “He was selfless with a big heart and he was always thinking of other Marines and how to help them, both personally and professionally. He was friendly to everyone; one of those people that did not have any enemies.”