August 18

Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on August 20 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, 22, of Huber Heights, Ohio, died Aug 18, in a non-combat related vehicle incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl. Fitzgerald was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/2, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on August 20 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, 27, Yuba City, Calif., died Aug 18 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Sgt. Parkerson was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Sgt. Richard M. Lord, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on August 24 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Richard M. Lord, 24, of Jacksonville, Fla., died Aug. 18 from injuries received due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Seattle Times -- The most difficult miles of Rosanna Powers' life are bringing her from Florida to the small Washington state farming community of Mansfield, Douglas County, for her brother's funeral tomorrow. Then she will fly back across the country to help bury her fiancé the next day. Both were U.S. Marines killed last week — one day apart — in Iraq. The double dose of tragedy struck a 22-year-old woman keenly aware of the risks of Marine life. She's a Marine corporal herself, now in the United States in her final days of service. That shared sense of service gave her some comfort while her loved ones were deployed in Iraq but has not made it any easier to cope with their deaths. "Before, I kind of knew some of what they were going through," Powers said. "This is different. This is so personal." Powers' brother, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Caleb Powers, was the first to die. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was shot Aug. 17 as he stood guard at his unit's compound in Al Anbar province in western Iraq, family members said. Rosanna Powers got the news that day. Then two days later, she learned that her fiancé, Sgt. Richard Lord, 24, of Florida, also had been killed in action. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division based out of Camp LeJeune, N.C. He died Aug. 18 from injuries sustained while he, too, was in Al Anbar province. The Marines who rotated back into Iraq earlier this year often have been on the front lines of fighting, and some of their units have sustained some of the U.S. forces' highest casualty rates. Those casualties include seven Marines from Washington state who have died since late May. Caleb Powers and Lord lost their lives in the province that includes the towns of Fallujah, Ramadi and other insurgent strongholds. Though both rotated in and out of hot spots, the two men never got a chance to meet. Lord earlier this month tried unsuccessfully to arrange a get-together, Rosanna Powers said. Both men died at a time when they had started to plan for life beyond Marine service and the war in Iraq. Caleb Powers had less than a month to go before he was scheduled to leave Iraq, and had his mind set on later leaving the service to turn to a life of wheat farming in Mansfield. Lord was planning to marry Rosanna Powers. And, in recent months, he had decided to leave the Marines when his service ended in 2006 and return to his native Florida to help raise the 10-month-old son they had together. Rosanna Powers has been based out of Cherry Point, N.C., in a communications wing. She met Lord while they were both stationed stateside. Then, in February 2003, after she was deployed to Kuwait, she discovered she was pregnant and returned to the U.S. Meanwhile, Lord served a first tour of duty in Iraq and then on June 22 returned for a second tour of duty. "He was like my brother — a real gung-ho Marine — but he was going to give it up, buy some property and settle down," she said in a telephone interview yesterday from Florida. "He would call me up and say, 'I love you.' We had so many plans." Today, Powers begins her cross-country marathon to say her goodbyes. She is scheduled to fly to Seattle, then drive east to Mansfield to attend a 1 p.m. funeral service tomorrow for her brother. Caleb Powers loved the Mansfield area, moving there when he was about 12 years old to live with his aunt and uncle after difficult years in Oregon and Virginia. He received help from Childhelp USA, an organization that aids troubled youth, and enjoyed a taste of celebrity as he appeared at a 2002 fund-raiser for the group, where family members said singer Lee Greenwood performed "God Bless the USA" in his honor. But he wanted to return to small-town life in Mansfield, with a population of about 320. "Every letter that I got from him was about coming home," said his aunt, Jackie Tupling. "He wanted to know how he would go about getting loans to get a farm and even had a farm in mind he was going to buy." As a teen, Rosanna Powers didn't make the move to Washington. She stayed in Virginia but kept in close touch with her brother, and she says her own enlistment might have added a bit of extra incentive for Caleb's enlistment. As a fellow Marine, he would tease her and call her only by her last name. When she would protest, he would snap back — "Semper Fi, Powers, Semper Fi," using the Marine Corps motto that means "always faithful." His casket is being brought back to Mansfield for tomorrow's funeral. His body will then be cremated. There will be a cemetery marker in Mansfield as well as a separate burial in Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia, Tupling said. After the Mansfield service, Powers will drive back to Seattle and hop a red-eye flight to Florida in time for a 2 p.m. Saturday funeral for Lord. It will be held in Trenton, a small town west of Gainesville. Powers wants people to remember not just the battlefield deaths but the lives that preceded them. "First to lose my brother, then Rich, this hurts so bad. But this is happening to more than just me."

~ H O M E ~