The Memorial Day weekend of 2015, would stand as a very profound and unforgettable experience for the veterans of India Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. It has been five years since they defiantly stood in defense of the Afghan people and U.S. interests at Kajaki, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May.
The weekend started out with Marines trickling in by from the airport by shuttle and across the East coast by personal vehicle. The next morning they were escorted by a local chapter of patriot motorcyclists to the Scherer and Haerter memorial run called “the grid” to run a mile as a unit. This was very symbolic, as the Haerter family had been trying for almost eight years to get a small unit of Marines to participate. This was almost impossible until presently, due to the holiday 96’ throughout the Marine Corps.
After the run the Marines gathered only a short distance to the Haerter family home, where an entire cul-de-sac was blocked off make room for the 85 Marines participating in the memorial run. After enjoying the hospitality of the Haerter family and neighbors, the Marines were transported back to the Cornell family farm to participate in a personal Memorial ceremony, courtesy of the Southold Fire Department and a handful of active duty Marines (for the Color Guard).
The memorial started with the ceremonial “role call” for those lost.
Sgt. Jose Saenz III, KIA 8-9-10
Sgt. Ronald Rodriguez, KIA 8-23-10
Cpl. Jorge Villereal, KIA 10-17-10
LCpl. Francisco Jackson, KIA 10-19-10
Sgt. Jason Smith, KIA 11-21-10
Sgt. Rick Villani, Died 2011
And ended with each Marine, paying their respects to their brothers, and to the Gold Star Families of Cpl. Villereal and Sgt Saenz.
Article By: David Wyble