‘It was a bittersweet time’: Fallen Marines honored at Camp Lejeune
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Camp Lejeune honored four Marines Monday morning who died in a helicopter crash during a training exercise back in March.
Captain Matthew Tomkiewicz, Captain Ross Reynolds, Gunnery Sergeant James Speedy, and Corporal Jacob Moore were all stationed at New River.
They were performing a routine exercise in Norway when their helicopter crashed.
The memorial ceremony started at 10:00 am at the Camp Lejeune Theater.
Officers WITN spoke with leading up to the ceremony said it would be a very sensitive and somber occasion because of the loss, and also because of tight bonds among members of the squadron.
Lt. Col. Travis Stephenson, the squadron’s commanding officer, reflected on the service and spoke about how much the squadron has grown together through the shared grief of the losses.
“It was a bittersweet time for us here today to share in each other’s grief and sorrow alongside one another... [to] come together like never before, like the family that we are,” Stephenson said. “But the conditions in Norway, the people that we support there, there’s just no replacement for working hand-in-hand with the folks we did over there.”
Stephenson explained the intensity of the training the Marines were involved in when the accident occurred.
Another member of the squadron said the brotherly bond between him and Tomkiewicz was so strong he made a trip all the way to Indiana to be present at his funeral.
Rifles were mounted with flag stands on stage at the ceremony along with helmets and boots, designed to show honor and respect to the fallen.
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