Memorial to Fallen Marines

(KHNL)  A memorial service Tuesday afternoon honored 4 Kaneohe-based Marines who were killed in Afghanistan.

They were all members of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

The service was held on the first day the entire battalion was back home after serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. The last group returned Monday night.

"I would just like to tell the families that we know nothing we can say today can do justice for the sacrifice of your loved ones," said Lt. Col. James Donnellan, the commanding officer of the 2/3. "Please know that this entire battalion mourns their loss with you, and smiles with you, on the lives these Marines led."

The four Marines are:

- L. Cpl. Phillip C. George, 22, of Houston, Texas. He died August 18th, 2005 from enemy fire.

- L. Cpl. Steven A. Valdez, 20, of Bebe, Arkansas. He died Sept. 26, 2005 from enemy mortar fire.

- L. Cpl. Kevin B. Joyce, 19, of Ganado, Arizona. He died June 25, 2005 after falling into the Pech River during combat operations.

- L. Cpl. Ryan J. Nass, 21, of Franklin, Wisconsin. He died Sept. 26, 2005, from a non-hostile gunshot wound.

Family members were at the memorial service, along with the nearly 1,000 Marines of the 2/3. The four were the only ones from the battalion to not make it home.

The Marines played taps, fired a 21-gun salute, and made the final roll call for their fallen brothers. The ceremony ended with a symbolic memorial for each Marine -- his helmet and dog tags hanging from his rifle, and his boots in front.

"General Patton said over 60 years ago about warriors from another war in another time," said Donnellan. "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."