HADITHA, Iraq -- Marines with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment pay respects to and remember the life of one of their fallen comrades during a memorial service here Nov. 29.
El Paso, Texas, native, Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, a 20 year-old rifleman with the company, was conducting mobile operations near the town of Haditha when a roadside bomb detonated near the vehicle he was driving, killing him.
Friends, leaders and fellow Marines of Terrazas’ packed a small room at the base here to pay their respects and celebrate the life of the fallen warrior. The battalion’s chaplain, Navy Lt. Philip N. Park, welcomed everyone and started off the service with an invocation.
Terrazas’ commanding officer, Capt. Luke McConnell, gave the opening remarks by talking about his leadership skills and life in the military.
Terrazas began his military career when he enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 11, 2003. He went to basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. where he made the transformation to a Marine.
After graduation, his next stop was the School of Infantry-West aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. It was there that he learned the basic skills needed to be a rifleman.
Terrazas didn’t have to go far when he received orders to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, a unit just up the road from the infantry school. He became a part of Company K where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom twice. He was known in his company for his marksmanship expertise, tactical proficiency and impressive courage.
Other leaders, fellow Marines and friends spoke about their comrade they recently lost. One was Lance Cpl. Roel R. Briones, a close friend of Terrazas.
“He was like a brother to me,” commented Briones. “If I ever needed to talk about something or someone to help me out when I was in a jam, he was always there for me.
“He was one hell of a shot. I’ve known him for about a year and a half, and I’ve never seen him miss something he was aiming for.”
After remarks from friends, 1st Sgt. Albert Espinosa, the company first sergeant, took roll call. A number of names were called off, and a loud ‘here first sergeant!’ came after every name until Terrazas’ name was read.
“Lance Cpl. Terrazas ... Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas,” sounded off the first sergeant. “Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas.”
And again there was no answer.
The silence after Terrazas’ name brought out many different emotions in each person in attendance, as did the sound of Taps, which is a military tradition for fallen service members.
Terrazas was the first Marine with his company to lose his life during the current deployment. Losing his experience was especially tough for the Marines, as they have lost a good Marine and good friend.
“He was a man of heart,” commented Terrazas’ platoon sergeant Staff Sgt. Travis M. Fields. “He always brought a smile everywhere he went. He is the kind of guy you can say will never be forgotten.”
Terrazas is survived by his mother, Gabrielle and father, Martin Terrazas Sr.