Marines hold a memorial for lost troops

Marines hold a memorial for lost troops

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - One by one their names were called. Nine marines and one sailor all killed in action in Afghanistan. The youngest was 20. The oldest was 24. The men belonged to the second battalion third marine regiment based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Many of their families traveled to Kaneohe to attend the memorial service. Velma Torres flew in from Miami to mourn the loss of her son who was promoted to corporal just days before he died.

"He loved challenges and he made it clear he never wanted to work behind a desk in an office," Mother of Christian Guzman Rivera, Velma Torres said.

"While the loss that we feel in no way compares to what they feel, we were their brothers. They were loved, they were respected, and they're missed," Commanding Officer, LtCol. Patrick Cashman said.

Those who served with them had a chance to pay their respects to grieving families. Among them relatives of Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard. An image of the wounded 21-year-old just before he died made national headlines a few months ago. His father tried to stop it from being published.

"The bigger issue is the one that seemed to get lost and it's not that it's how the current strategy and rules of engagement are affecting these guys," Retired Marine John Bernard said.

John Bernard says he has no regrets about his son following in his footsteps by joining the Marine Corps.

"If that's what you're supposed to do in life then you should chase it hard, and if it's not what you're supposed to do you shouldn't be there," Bernard said.

The battalion worked on stabilization security and counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

"In a way it provides a certain amount of closure and that's important, but it's also a celebration so we can stand out here and talk about what they did because what they did is incredibly important," Cashman said.