A hard day

The 8th of May is a hard day for the families of three Marines who lost their lives during Operation Matador, in New Ubaydi, in 2005.  It was the first day of the operation and a Sunday. And that Sunday was Mother’s Day.

Philippon w helmet

It was also a hard day for many of the Marines who were there that day, fighting alongside their brothers in strange and dangerous place.  Some of them still struggle with their memories of that day.

LCpl Lawrence (Larry) Philippon, from Kilo Company, 2nd Plt, was killed during house-to-house fighting as Kilo Company cleared New Ubaydi.  He was an exemplary Marine, a leader in his platoon, who had pushed to get combat duty.

Philippon in bunker.png

According to an article in his hometown newspaper, Larry was a star athlete in high school, then went to Central Connecticut University for a time.  But in 2003 “He came home one day and said he was going to join the Marines.”  He was selected for the Marine color guard, and served with distinction there, but persistently requested duty with a front-line infantry unit. He told his parents, “I didn’t sign up to be a pretty boy”.

I know this is a tough time for the Philippon family, and my heart goes out to them. I’ve had some initial contact with them, and will soon be writing more about that day and Operation Matador overall.  It is a daunting task that I do not take lightly.

SSgt Goodwin


Two other Marines also lost their lives that day, from the 3/25, a Marine Reserve unit from Ohio.  SSgt Anthony Goodwin, on his third deployment to Iraq, and one of the key NCOs in his unit.  This is an excellent video tribute about him.

Cpl Derga.png

Cpl Dustin Derga, was a firefighter back home and another young man who pursued a calling he felt to be a Marine, through the reserves.  Here’s a touching tribute, written by his father.




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