MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (KHNL) - Three Hawaii-based Marines killed in Iraq this summer were among more than 30 killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a tent where they were meeting to discuss bringing about peace.
Colonel Max Galeai, Captain Phillip J. Dykeman and Corporal Marcus W. Preudhomme were all killed in action June 26, 2008.
They were described as smart, driven and educated.
Three men who chose a path of service and sacrifice.
Thursday hundreds of their fellow freedom fighters came together with family members for a service rich in tradition, and emotion.
Galeai, Dykeman and Preudhomme were all killed while meeting with Iraqi Sheiks and security personnel in an effort to bring about peace to an area that knows bloodshed all too well.
A memorial service was held immediately after the bombing in Iraq.
"But what we had not been able to do is tell the families how important they were because we were separated. this ceremony gives us the opportunity to tell them that we respected them and miss them," said Col. Patrick Cashman.
"He was a humble guy," said Norman Bartley, Galeai's cousin. "He would listen to everybody and was very funny. He would do anything for anybody and for our cousin's family."
While family members shed tears, fellow Marines, even those injured in the deadly attack, showed strength, and made promises, to never forget.
"Anything I've been through hasn't changed my mind about the Corps," said Sgt. Keith Buckmon. "I'm going to stay, stay true to what I believe in and be there for them as they've been there for me."
With the bagpipes playing in the background, the crowd continued to mourn.
The three men left behind three large families, including two wives and seven children.