MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment conducted a memorial run on Marine Corps Base Hawaii on November 12 to honor Marines and sailors from the battalion who died during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
According to 1st Lt. Daniel Escobedo, an aerial officer with the battalion, 60 Marines and 3 Sailors passed away during the conflicts of the Global War on Terror. 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, known as the “Lava Dogs,” wanted to honor Marines and sailors of these specific operations because they happened recently and in relation to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Running mostly in groups of two, Marines from the battalion carried out the memorial event by running one mile, carrying the unit’s colors and a dog tag of a Marine or Sailor who died during OEF and OIF.
Two of the Marines whose actions were emphasized were Sgt. Rafael Peralta and Staff Sgt. Theodore Holder, who were both killed in action during the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Sgt. Peralta was awarded the Navy Cross, and Staff Sgt. Holder was awarded the Silver Star. Citations for each Marine were read during the memorial run event to honor their bravery.
The Lava Dogs held the event after completing Bougainville II, a rigorous month-long pre-deployment exercise at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island of Hawaii. Upon their return to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the Lava Dogs wanted to do something that would enhance unit cohesion and esprit de corps, coinciding with their upcoming Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
Throughout Marine Corps Birthday season, Marines from every corner of the Corps reflect on the mark their units have made throughout its history. This year, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines chose to take a look back on recent history, honor the Lava Dogs who paid the ultimate price, and get in some exercise in the process.