Friday, September 2, 2011

Derek L. Gardner, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Derek L. Gardner, 20

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: September 6, 2004
Fallouja (9 mi. north of), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: San Juan Capistrano
High School: Laguna Hills High (Laguna Hills)
"Derek was a Marine," his mother said. "It was what he wanted to do with his life."
At a memorial service last week at the 1st Marine Division headquarters in Iraq, Gardner's commanding officer said his months in a war zone had been a maturing and exhausting experience for Gardner, who had been assigned to the division's headquarters battalion.
"He fit my picture of the typical tough young Marine," Capt. Terence M. Connelly, commanding officer of Truck Company, told a gathering in a makeshift chapel in what was once one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.

"He was dirty, he was tired.... ," Connelly said. "But I could tell he loved his buddies, he loved being a truck driver, and he loved being a Marine."
Gardner, a graduate of Laguna Hills High School, played football and enjoyed deep-sea fishing with his father. He liked Knott's Berry Farm, rap music, professional wrestling and baseball; a Dodgers cap was placed on his casket.
Gardner planned to marry April Ornelas when he returned from Iraq. They met a year ago at a mall and he proposed to her Christmas Eve.
Read the whole article about Marine Lance Corporal Derek L. Gardner here and read more here and here.

Marine Lance Corporal Derek L Gardner was previously remembered at boom3 on Monday, September 6, 2010.

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