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Family members, friends, Marines and sailors stand at attention during the national anthem to honor two corpsmen with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, during a memorial service, May 19, 2011, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Petty Officer 2nd Class Brenton Lane and Petty Officer 3rd Class William J. Keys, passed away April 16, after sustaining injuries from a fatal car accident.

Photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by: Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Johnston

1/2 honors fallen corpsmen in memorial service

20 May 2011 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Johnston

Family members, friends, Marines and sailors gathered to honor two corpsman with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, during a memorial service, May 19, 2011, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brenton Lane and Petty Officer 3rd Class William J. Keys, passed away April 16, after sustaining injuries from a fatal car accident.

The commanding officer for H&S Co., Capt. Gregory S. McSween, approached the podium and emphatically stated that no words could ever replace the great men who had passed. He described how the sailors’ positive attitudes and constant willingness to seek self-improvement enriched the lives of those around them.

“They were truly exceptional corpsmen,” said McSween. “Their loss has been felt throughout the battalion, particularly in H&S Company.”

During the memorial service, friends who served alongside the men were given a chance to pay their respects. One after the other, fellow comrades wept at the podium, describing the men in personal detail.

“It’s hard for anyone who didn’t know Keys to know how awesome he was,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent T. McGuire, a corpsman with 1/2. “To most of his fellow corpsmen, he was their fellow sailor. To the Marines, he was ‘Doc’. He was always that guy who everybody knew they could go to, to get the job done no matter how hard the task was,” he said.

The Marines and sailors also described Lane as an outstanding corpsman as well as someone who had seen more combat than many Marines. They said he was loved by many and will always be remembered.

“I just want to let you know some of the things people said about Lane,” McSween said to the crowd. “They said he was a good friend, eager to help others, a perfect fit with the scout sniper platoon that cared greatly for his Marines. Highly motivated and extremely fit, he always wanted to be close to the action; truly one of our best men!”

As the ceremony drew to an end, Sgt. Maj. Joel A. Collins, sergeant major for 1/2, advanced to front of the crowd, came to attention and called out the names of Marines and sailors. Replies of “present” could be heard over the crowd’s somber silence until the names of the fallen sailors were repeated several times with no response.

A single trumpet bellowed “Taps” while Marines and sailors raised their hands to salute their fallen brothers, giving the fallen corpsmen a final and honorable farewell.