View Full Version : Infantryman’s death inspires new Marine’s enlistment

02-04-06, 07:39 AM
Mission incomplete: Infantryman’s death inspires new Marine’s enlistment
MCRD San Diego
Story by: Lance Cpl. Kaitlyn M. Scarboro

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO(Feb. 3, 2006) -- During his work lunch break, Pfc. Jonathan D. Hale, Platoon 3054, Company K, visited the grave of his high school friend, the day after the funeral.

Hale didn’t know Cpl. Taylor S. Trovillion joined the Marine Corps until he received a late-night phone call saying he had just missed the funeral.

“I went to his grave and kind of just sat there. The next day I went to the recruiter’s office,” said the Richardson, Texas, native.

Trovillion was killed on deployment when the vehicle he was traveling in drove over an improvised explosive device, according to Hale.

“I sat in shock and disbelief for quite a while. At that point I realized that life isn’t all about money and having the nicest stuff. It’s about the things money can’t buy. Things like good times with friends – the memories, standing up for what you believe in, helping others and making a difference in the world,” said Hale.

Hale told himself not to be irrational and to make sure enlisting was the right decision for him. He thought of joining the Marine Corps earlier in his life, but he was offered his dream job at SBC Internet Systems the day before he was scheduled to sign his enlistment contract. Hale postponed his enlistment to follow in his mother’s footsteps working at SBC.

When Hale’s mother, Lynn A. Hale, found out her son had enlisted to fulfill his friend’s enlistment, she was confused.

“Initially, it was a shock. We talked about it, and I asked him why,” said Lynn. “He said, ‘I get to join because I want to, not because I have to.’

“He felt that this is a great country and that everyone should have the opportunity to fight for their country. I think it’s scary, but I’m extremely proud of him. It shows me he’s a great person,” she said.

Later, through the company’s downsizing, Hale was let go from SBC. He applied to and was hired by Nortel, selling communications towers, postponing his enlistment plans further.

“The work-to-money ratio was unbelievable. It was a very, very nice job,” said Hale.

The loss of his friend on June 15 made Hale reconsider his decision to enlist, and on Independence Day, Hale finalized his enlistment decision.

“I felt I needed to pick up where he left off. I wanted to be his direct replacement,” said Hale. “I went from telling people what to do, to me being told what to do, in not the nicest way,” said Hale.

The memory is vivid for Hale. He recalls when the two boys ran into each other while skating, and Hale was knocked over by Trovillion. Despite Hale’s angry comments, Trovillion continued to help Hale up, apologizing and explaining that he was only trying to help, according to Hale.

“Me and my friends would always play roller hockey. He wasn’t the kind of guy who liked to play roller hockey. One day, he showed up in skates and wanted to play,” said Hale.

Their friendship continued, and soon the boys played hockey together often.

“We just played roller hockey together, sometimes 12, 13, 14 hours at a time,” said Hale.

Hale’s father, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Stanley Hale, a former Marine, deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and he won’t be at his son’s graduation.

“I’m happy he’s found a place where he feels like he can contribute something. I know his father’s proud of him too,” said Lynn, who writes her son daily to say how much she misses him. Initially, she had told him there were plenty of other people to join the military, and he didn’t have to take the responsibility upon himself.

As a very religious Christian, Hale believes his friend is protecting him through his time during recruit training in San Diego.

“Right before I got out here, my grandfather died,” said Hale. “So it’s kind of like I’ve got two angels looking out for me.”

Hale said he doesn’t think of his friend much during training, but during an injury in his first few weeks of training, his purpose for joining the Marine Corps was a major focus.

“I was in an incredible amount of pain, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it. He’s watching over me and taking care of me — making sure I make it through this,” said Hale about Trovillion.

Hale originally joined the Marine Corps under the same military occupational specialty as Trovillion, but he felt he would be better suited in a field in which he had more experience.

“Originally my MOS was 0300 Infantry. However, after a few months of thinking about how I would be most beneficial to the Marine Corps, my MOS was changed to communication command and control,” said Hale.

As his Marine Corps career progresses, Hale is ready to do what he set out to do.

“Put me wherever I am needed. I’m not here for me,” said Hale.