HAQLANIYAH, Iraq -- Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment gathered to pay their respects during a memorial service here, Jan. 30 and to and remember the life of one of their fallen comrades.
Tracy, Calif. native, Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Dewey, a 20 year-old squad automatic rifleman with the company, was operating a traffic control point near the town of Haqlaniyah when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device blew up, killing him and one other Marine.
Dewey’s friends, leaders and fellow Marines packed into a small area here to celebrate the life of the fallen warrior. The battalion’s chaplain, Navy Lt. Philip N. Park, welcomed everyone and started the service with an invocation.
Dewey’s commanding officer, Capt. James S. Kimber, gave the opening remarks, praising Dewey’s leadership skills and life in the military.
Dewey began his Marine Corps career, Sept. 8, 2003. He attended to basic training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. where he made the transformation to a Marine.
After graduating boot camp, he continued his training at the School of Infantry-West aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. It was there he learned the basic skills of a rifleman.
Dewey didn’t have to go far when he received orders to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, a unit just up the road from the school of infantry. He became a part of Company I where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom twice.
He was known in his company for his impressive courage and upbeat attitude when things were at there worst.
“He had this way of always staying upbeat no matter what was going on,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy J. Ott, a friend of Dewey’s. “He always thought of something to say that made us smile.”
“Yeah, he was a friendly face and someone you could always trust,” added Lance Cpl. Jonathan M. Gould, another friend.
After comments from friends and fellow Marines, 1st Sgt. Gary D. Moran, 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 Dewey’s name was read.
“Lance Cpl. Dewey ... Lance Cpl. Brandon Dewey,” sounded off the first sergeant. “Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Dewey.”
There was no answer.
The silence after Dewey’s name brought out different emotions in each person in attendance as did the sound of Taps, which is traditionally played for fallen service members.
Dewey was one of the first Marines with his company to lose his life during the current deployment. Losing this experienced Marine is especially tough for his comrades, as they have lost a good Marine and a good friend.
“It is hard to put into words how much he will be missed by us,” commented Moran. “He was always motivated, loved the Corps and loved being with his fellow Marines.”
Dewey is survived by his mother, Julia A. Conover, and father, Mark H. Dewey.