September 6
2004



Lance Cpl. Michael J. Alfred, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Michael J. Alfred, 22, of of Hyde Park, Utah. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl Alfred was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Pfc. David P. Burridge, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pfc. David P. Burridge, 19, of Lafayette, La. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Pfc. Burridge was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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The Lafayette Advocate -- LAFAYETTE -- Just two years ago, David Burridge was starting his senior year at Lafayette High School. Friday, the hearse carrying his casket rolled slowly past hundreds of students and American flags, on its way to a hero's burial. Marine Pfc. David Burridge, 19, was one of seven men killed by a suicide bomber on Sept. 6 in Iraq. He was a 2003 graduate of Lafayette High and was the second graduate of the school killed in the war in a week. Army Spc. Joseph Thibodeaux III, 24, a sharpshooter, was killed near Hawija in northern Iraq by enemy gunfire Sept. 1. He was buried last week. Burridge's funeral was Friday morning, and afterward the procession drove past Lafayette High, where a 50-foot flag was suspended between two fire trucks, and between two columns of students holding flags. Members of the school's band played taps as the hearse, limousines transporting his family and trucks full of U.S. Marines in dress uniforms drove past. Janine Neck, a teacher in the gifted program at the school, first met Burridge when he was a student at Lafayette Middle School. "Probably the most striking thing I remember about David was his demeanor," she said. "David was kind, he was unassuming, he was generous, even at that age. And that's unusual." Neck was a computer lab teacher at Lafayette Middle, and young Burridge came to her on a mission, she remembers. "He came to me, because his goal was to learn how to read better," she said. "He set the goal and he achieved it. That's the kind of person David was." Meeting a sixth or seventh-grader who is focused enough to want to improve his skills is unusual, Neck said. "It was unbelievable, really, but that's just the type of kid he was," she said. He was also the type of person who knew what he wanted, she said. "It was some time in middle school that he said to me that he was going to join the armed services," Neck remembers. "He knew even at that point that that was what he wanted to do." Neck said Burridge also never showed the aggression that some young men express growing up. "He was very tolerant. I don't think I ever saw David angry," she remembered. "That's the David Burridge I knew." Neck said Friday was a difficult day, especially because Burridge was scheduled to be home and safe from Iraq by now. "Whatever anybody says, I am really confident that David was doing what David wanted to do," she said. "He was real adamant about a young man's obligation to serve. He valued America, and he valued our freedoms. "He truly was wise beyond his years." Even those who did not know Burridge or Thibodeaux have been affected by their deaths. Frank Dawkins, a Lafayette attorney, showed his respects Friday morning. "My daughter graduated from Lafayette High in 2001," he said. "And I have a 19-year-old son at LSU. This is very poignant for me. It's impressive to see." Dawkins said he read about the procession and decided to go. "I figured it was the least I could do," he said. Joan Hargrave, senior class president, said the deaths have had a big effect at the school. "I was a sophomore when David was a senior, and I remember him," she said. Thibodeaux, who graduated in 1998, was gone before Hargrave arrived at the school, so she never knew him. But that doesn't really matter. "I have two older brothers, and they are Joseph and David's ages, so it has an impact on me personally," Hargrave said. "I think about my brothers, and I know they (Burridge and Thibodeaux) were so young to have died this way." Students who didn't know Burridge or Thibodeaux are thinking about them, she said. "I feel we're faced with this adult situation, and it has matured us a lot," she said. "Joseph and David were brave enough to serve in the military after graduation. Not all of us are sure what we're going to do after graduation, but I think that, whatever we do, we will remember people like David and Joseph who made such a brave and awesome decision." Hargrave also is president of the senior girls' service club, Les Amies, which is sponsoring a fund-raising drive in memory of Burridge and Thibodeaux to send care packages to troops overseas. "We wanted to do something," she said. The USO is putting the care packages together, Hargrave said. "For every $25 that is donated, the USO is sending a care package with $75 in supplies to a serviceman or woman," she said. The packages contain batteries, playing cards, calling cards, sun screen, snacks and other items that give comfort to the soldiers, she said. "It's simple stuff, but it impacts the soldiers directly," she said. "We wanted to feel that we're giving directly to them. These are small things, but we hope they mean a lot." Everyone who donates also can write a message to a soldier, she said. "We're going to send them our thoughts and prayers," she said. "We want them to feel some hope and inspiration from back home."

Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, 20, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl. Gardner was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, 21, of Page, Ariz. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl. Keith was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Joseph C. McCarthy, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Joseph C. McCarthy, 21, of Concho, Calif. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl. McCarthy, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, 21, of Concord, Calif. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Cpl. Nygardbekowsky, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Lamont N. Wilson, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on September 8 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Lamont N. Wilson, 20, of Lawton, Okla. died Sept 6 due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lance Cpl. Wilson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Cpl. Mick R. Bekowsky, USMC

Bay City News -- CONCORD -- A funeral will be held Saturday for a U.S. Marine from Concord who died in Iraq on Sept. 6, city officials said. Cpl. Mick R. Bekowsky, 21, was killed along with six other Marines in a suicide bombing that occurred the Al Anbar province of Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense reported. Bekowsky was assigned to the Second Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division of the I Marine, according to the department Bekowsky was scheduled to come home from his second tour in Iraq in October, according to his grandmother, Cecile Bekowsky of Concord. The Concord High School graduate signed up for the Marines right when he turned 18, his grandmother said. "He's always wanted to be something having to do with macho soldiers," Cecile said. Bekowsky is Concord's first casualty in the war against Iraq. Flags in Concord and other Contra Costa County cities have flown at half-staff throughout in the week in honor of the soldier. His family and friends plan to remember him at 10 a.m. at the Concord Community Church of the Salvation Army and to bury him after the service at Memory Gardens Cemetery.

Hospitalman Robert N. Martens, USN

Hospitalman Robert N. Martens, 20, of Queen Creek, Ariz., died Sept. 6, from injuries sustained as a passenger when his HMMWV rolled over in Al Qaim, Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Martens was assigned to II Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.



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