View Full Version : Marines willing to go extra mile

11-30-05, 12:06 PM
Jacksonville Daily News (http://www.jdnews.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=36898&Section=Opinion)
November 29,2005

If there's one thing the Marine Corps does without hesitation, it is looking after its own.Marines go to great lengths on the battlefield to bring back their dead and wounded. Off the battlefield, they are the first to come to the aid of their fallen comrades' families.

The Band of Brothers at the heart of a Marine's soul also binds them both in life and in death.

So it's not surprising that a group of leathernecks would fly to Mobile, Ala., to aid of the mother of a Marine who didn't make it back from Iraq. It is something that they would consider a debt of honor, a bargain they made with their friend and fellow Marine.

It all began when Marines discovered that the mother of Lance Cpl. Bradley Faircloth, who served with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, needed help. The young Faircloth was killed in the battle for Fallujah in November 2004, leaving behind his single mother, whose home sustained damage when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

The Marines from 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1/8, had stayed in touch with Faircloth's mother, Kathleen.

When they learned her home had been damaged in the hurricane, they wanted to help her and, in the spirit of the Corps, managed to overcome great obstacles in order to fulfill their mission.

First there was the matter of transportation. The Marines from Faircloth's unit were in Slidell, La., as part of the military's response to hurricane recovery when they discovered Kathleen Faircloth's home had sustained significant damage from Katrina. They knew they wanted to help her, but at a time when transportation was at a premium, didn't have a way to reach her. When a kind-hearted local resident stepped up and offered the Marines the use of her private jet, the battalion's executive officer took the matter to his boss - the battalion commander. He OK'd it.

In the end, the Marine unit not only made the trip, but they did it all in a brief 36 hours. Marines from 1/8 repaired the Faircloth home's extensive damages, including a roof that badly needed patching. Even more importantly, they spent time with Kathleen Faircloth, talking about her late son and what he meant to them all.

When they were finished, the Marines who went acknowledged that it was as much about comforting one another as it was looking after the family of one of their own. It was an extension of what they do on the battlefield - the promise that no one will be left behind.

Those who think of Marines only as lean, mean fighting machines might express surprise to hear they volunteer their time to wade into the middle of disaster-mangled communities to make them whole again. But residents of Onslow or Carteret counties don't find it puzzling.

To those who live daily around the Marine Corps or have once been an active part of the Corps, Marines are known for both their courage under fire and their deep sense of humanity.

As one Marine put it, "We've got compassion."

This may be news to the rest of the world but not around here - where Marines show their compassion and willingness to go that extra mile for the benefit of others in some way each and every day.