October 12
2004



Cpl. Ian T Zook, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on October 13 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cpl Ian T. Zook died Oct. 12 as result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on October 14 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, 22, of Calendonia, Wis., died on Oct. 12 due to enemy action in Babil Province, Iraq. Wyatt was assigned to Marine Corps Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in Chicago, Ill.

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Journal Sentinel -- Caledonia -- David Wyatt says he has been in a fog since Oct. 12, when his son Daniel was killed in Iraq, but there is one point on which he has complete clarity: Daniel's commitment to the cause. "I keep telling people, 'Daniel, he knew what he was getting into,' " Wyatt said last weekend, the day after his son's funeral. "He just understood that in order to have freedom, you must defend it. That's what he was doing." Wyatt said he has been overwhelmed by the support of Marine Corps members and their families, including people who recently lost loved ones in Iraq, and of the Racine County community. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt was killed in the town of Yusufiyah, in Babil Province of Iraq, south of Baghdad. He was a member of the Milwaukee-based Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 47th Marine Division. He was 22. David Wyatt said he has heard from hundreds of people across Racine County and the nation. He and his family have been deeply touched by the support from other Marine families, including the mother of Pfc. Andrew J. Halverson, 19, of Muscoda, who was killed in Iraq on Oct. 9 and buried just five days before Daniel was buried, and the family of Staff Sgt. Michael T. Connolly, also with Fox Company, who was injured in Babil Province. The mother of another Marine reservist named Josh, who was with Daniel's unit, forwarded to the Wyatt family an e-mail account of the events leading up to Daniel Wyatt's death. He said the squad had stopped at a vendor to buy sodas and then continued on patrol. Soon after, there was a loud blast near where Daniel was walking. "I was only a couple of feet from him and knew that he didn't make it," the e-mail said, adding that he and Daniel had been talking about bowling earlier. "And I was telling him how after a month in a theater, your chances of coming home are much greater. He missed his one-month mark by three days," the e-mail says. The Marines later captured and jailed men believed to be responsible for his death. The account of the capture and treatment of the men who killed Daniel Wyatt gives comfort to his father. "What's so great is that the Marines got those guys and they didn't retaliate. No matter how much people like to rap the U.S., here are men who just saw what had happened to one of their own and they did the right thing. They played by the rules. That makes me very proud of the Marines, and very proud of our country for that," David Wyatt said. In an e-mail to David Wyatt, Lt. Col. Mark A. Smith, commander of Daniel's company, describes the scene from the ground: "The Marines of Daniel's unit have not had a shower since seizing the town. They have eaten MREs day on, stay on. . . . And, on all my trips to their position for planning, coordination and command visits, I ask them if they want to be relieved. To a man, they look me in the eye and tell me, 'No way.' "Why? Well, I'm not going to soften it for anyone, the primary reason why is to kill terrorists. Please remember, that is what they are trained and paid to do. But, they also tell me they want to help the people of Yusufiyah. They want to show all of Iraq that they can stand on their own feet, push back against extremism and, with our help, live the life of freedom that all men yearn for," Smith wrote. That is exactly what Daniel wanted, his father said. Daniel was the third generation in the family to serve in the military. David Wyatt served in the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam, stationed in Thailand, and his father served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. David Wyatt said all of the young Marines who assisted at Daniel's funeral told him they have volunteered to go. "They had just been at a funeral for one of their own, and they still wanted to go," David Wyatt said. "No Band-Aid is going to fix this," he said, holding Daniel's Purple Heart in his hands. "If we don't finish this, then Daniel died for nothing. This is not political. This is personal. This is important to me, and it was important to Daniel."

Pfc. Oscar A. Martinez, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 22 the death a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Steven C. T. Cates, 22, of Mount Juliet, Tenn., died October 12 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Cates was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.



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