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CAMP HURRICANE POINT, Ar Ramadi, Iraq (April 25, 2005) - Lance Cpl. Manuel Valle Jr., team leader, 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, takes a knee in front of a warrior's memorial and pays his final respects for his fellow comrade, Cpl. Kelly M. Cannan, who fell on the battlefield here April 20. Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, held a dual memorial ceremony in honor of Cannan, 21, of Lowville, N.Y., and Lance Cpl. Marty G. Mortenson, 22, of Flagstaff, Ariz. Both warriors were killed by the same improvised explosive device attack while traveling in a convoy. They were on their third deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

Photo by Cpl. Tom Sloan

1/5 honors fallen comrades with memorial

25 Apr 2005 | Cpl. Tom Sloan

Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment held a memorial ceremony in honor of two of their fellow Marines who recently fell on the urban battlefield here April 25.Lance Cpl. Marty G. Mortenson and Cpl. Kelly M. Cannan, with 1st Platoon, Company A, were both on their third deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom when they were killed by an improvised explosive device that detonated near the convoy they were traveling in April 20.Lance Cpl. Eric J. Young, a rifleman with 1st Platoon, Company A, said he heard Mortenson’s named called out on the radio as he and his fellow Marines headed to the medical facility at Camp Ramadi. “I was sick when I heard,” said the 22-year-old from Orange, Calif.The 22-year-old Flagstaff, Ariz., native’s death hit his close friend hard. Young and Mortenson met and became friends during OIF I where they had served in the same squad.“I feel like half of me is dead now,” said Young, tearing up. “He was my best friend. He was like a brother to me,” he continued.Mortenson’s fellow Marines remember him as being a loyal man that would stand by their side in any situation until the mission was completed.Cannan, who was a casualty of the same attack, will never be forgotten by his friend and brother-in-arms, Cpl. Paul S. Zelaya.“I heard the IED go off about a hundred meters from my position,” recalled the team leader with 1st Squad, 1st Platoon. “We went out to check on the convoy and someone told me Cannan was hit. He was killed instantly. I burst into tears.”Zelaya, a 22-year-old Houston native, had also known Cannan since OIF I. He said that when the two weren’t working together, they played sports.“We’d always play basketball together back at San Mateo (a Marine camp located aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif.),” he said. Zelaya, and other Marines with Company A remember the 21-year-old Lowville, N.Y., native for his motivating attitude and as someone who’d always lend a helping hand.“He was an upbeat and happy person,” Zelaya said. “He was a fine Marine. He always gave everything he had and was always focused on the mission.”As the battalion’s chaplain, Navy Lt. Aaron T. Miller, delivered the meditation he encouraged the Marines to continue their mission to honor their fallen comrades.“Every passing of a brother causes us pain,” said the 32-year-old from Redlands, Calif. “It also reminds us to carry on the mission they died conducting. Our brothers are at rest now. We can have peace knowing that.”Lieutenant Col. Eric M. Smith, the battalion’s commanding officer, also addressed those present stating that the fallen will live on in the history of the battalion.“We lost two good men that day,” said the 39-year-old from Plano, Texas. “They are now part of the blood and soul that makes our battalion’s colors. They are now part of the history of (1st Battalion, 5th Marines).”