Three Camp Lejeune Marines were killed in action last week during combat operations in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, of Stafford, Virginia; Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, New Hampshire; and Lance Cpl. Adam R. Wolff, 25, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died June 20 during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. All three were with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion of Camp Lejeune, and were killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan as a result of a hostile incident, according to a 2nd Marine Division press release.
An International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, casualty report issued on Friday announced that three service members and a military working dog were killed by an improvised explosive device. Marine 1st Lt. Adam Flores, a public affairs officer with II Marine Division public affairs, said he was unable to contact or confirm with ISAF officials if the casualty report was for Steward, Garabrant and Wolff or if a military working dog had been killed in the same incident that claimed the three Marines.
Stewart joined the Marine Corps in June 2004 and was promoted to staff sergeant on Nov. 11, 2010. He was serving as a platoon sergeant within 2nd CEB at the time of his death. Stewart also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom a total of three times. This was Stewart’s second deployment to Afghanistan, and he had been there since April, all according to the release.
Stewart leaves behind a wife who was his childhood sweetheart and two children, according to NBCWashington.
“We’ve been together since we were teenagers and he’s always been positive,” Kristine Stewart told the TV station. “It didn’t matter what was going on. All the joys in our life and then the hardships that come with five deployments; he just was my rock.”
Stewart’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Terrorism Service Medals, the Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
Garabrant and Wolff both deployed to Afghanistan in March. The two lance corporals were serving as combat engineers with 2nd CEB at the time of their deaths. Both Marines had earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Garabrant joined the Marine Corps in March 2013. Garabrant, who completed boot camp the day before his New Hampshire high school graduation ceremony was scheduled, made headlines last year when his high school would not permit him to wear his dress blues at the commencement.
Garabrant’s mother, Jessie Garabrant, told The Boston Globe, that her son had found his calling in the Marine Corps.
“He was attracted to the loyalty, the honor, and the brotherhood, and the challenges,” she told the paper.
Wolff joined the Corps in December 2012. Wolff’s aunt Dawn Harward told the Ottumwa (Iowa) Courier that she was upset the Department of Defense had made no official notification of the deaths until three days later.
“Why has nobody recognized this, and the other young men?” the paper quoted Harward as saying on Monday. She noted the family had been notified on Friday but there was no other DoD notification. “... He died for our country. The public should know.”
Thomas Brennan is a reporter for the Jacksonville Daily News.