View Full Version : Marines, sailors in Iraq honor slain corpsman

11-18-06, 08:09 AM
Marines, sailors in Iraq honor slain corpsman

By Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes/For The Valley Chronicle

AL QA'IM, Iraq - Navy Seaman Charles O. Sare was a corpsman well-known for his charismatic personality and his genuine care for others, regardless of who they were.

That was how Marines and sailors who served with him remembered him during his memorial service in Iraq on Nov. 2.

Sare, a 23-year-old Hemet native, was killed in action Oct. 23 during combat operations with the battalion's Lima Company in the northern region of Al Anbar Province, Iraq - just seven miles shy of the Syrian border. Sare was a graduate of Hemet High School.

The service was held at a Marine outpost near the Iraq-Syria border along the Euphrates River, where U.S. Marines from the Southern California-based 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, have spent the past 50 days providing security.

Fellow sailors and Marines with Lima Company said they could never forget the experiences they shared with “Doc” Sare.

“He was always good for a good laugh,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam D. Blankenship, Lima Company's senior corpsman. “He was a very happy-go-lucky person. He loved to boast about his ‘suped-up' Neon SRT.”

Sare joined the Navy in 2004 with plans of earning an emergency medial technician license so he could later become a paramedic.

Roughly two years after he enlisted, he departed for his first combat tour to Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment - a battalion that is on its fourth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sare served as the corpsman for one of Lima Company's mobile assault platoons, working alongside Marines who patrolled Al Anbar Province nearly daily, facing small-arms attacks and improvised explosive devices.

It was an IED that killed Sare.

Sare loved his job and was always “chipper,” according to Cpl. Kalin M. Tobin, Sare's section leader.

“He was always put in extremely (dangerous) circumstances, but he never feared,” said Tobin. “He did his job and he did it well.”

“Most of all, he was a good friend to a lot of people in the section,” added Tobin. “A lot of people will miss him dearly. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

During the memorial service, Sare's company commander, Capt. Patrick T. Faye, addressed Lima Company's Marines and sailors. “It is tough realizing the true meaning of ‘band of brothers' after losing a brother,” Faye said.

Nonetheless, Faye said he knew Sare very well and knew that reflecting on his life would bring up some funny stories.

“I can remember, and picture very well, ‘Doc,' all 6-foot-3 of him, crammed and hunched over in the backseat of a (humvee),” Faye said. “It's always a funny picture.

“But, he was always first to assist someone. His humanity is what I really remember about Doc Sare.”

Sare was also on myspace.com. The “Heroes” post on his profile, a section Sare devoted to those he considered his heroes, is indicative of his character - humane and outstanding, said Navy Lt. Alan Rogers, the battalion's chaplain, during the memorial.

Sare's post to that section:

My Mom, Dad and everyone who makes a difference in another person's life and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country to keep it the way it is; and the troops currently overseas fighting to keep the country the way it is.”

“By his own definition, Doc died a hero,” Rogers said. “Today, we have the difficult task of saying goodbye to our friend and shipmate, known by his friends at Hemet High School as Otter.”

“He was a man that did his job,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brad E. Walker, Sare's platoon sergeant, as he stood in front of Sare's memorial for a moment after the service. “He did everything he was supposed to do. He's in a much better place than us now.”

Sare was the first service member from the battalion to be killed in action during this deployment.

Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes is a combat correspondent for the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. Contact him at cifuentesms