CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- Sailors with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25 gathered to remember two of their own in a memorial service held at the main chapel here June 14.
Members of the "Seabee Family," Petty Officer 1st Class Gary T. Rovinski, an equipment operator, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaime S. Jaenke, a corpsman, were killed June 5, when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device while on a convoy in the Al Anbar Province.
Their fellow sailors fondly remembered the two in the small confines of the chapel, sharing memories of their time together and of the families left behind.
The battalion, based out of Fort McCoy, Wis., is a reserve unit, which allowed the other sailors to truly get to know Rovinksi and Jaenke, said Navy Lt. Timothy Bray, the officer in charge of the NMCB 25 detachment at Camp Taqaddum.
Some have known them for more than 10 years, said Bray, a 35-year-old native of Crosslake, Minn. Many in the battalion have worked together in the civilian sector; their children have grown up as friends.
"These tight bonds make this tragedy hit very, very close to home," Bray said.
A native of Roseville, Ill., Rovinksi, a soldier in the Army during Operation Desert Storm, had been with the battalion throughout his time in the Navy.
Friends remembered him as a hard worker who didn't need to be recognized. Rovinski was content working far from the limelight while getting the mission accomplished, said Chief Petty Officer Ronald L. Genco, a 38-year-old native of Clinton, Iowa.
A religious man, Rovinksi took great comfort in the faith he lived out and practiced with diligence.
Jaenke, a native of Iowa Falls, Iowa, was remembered as "a beautiful person with a contagious smile and a mischievous spirit." Before joining the Navy, she worked as an emergency medical technician.
"She delighted in the simple things," said Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond L. Howard, a 38-year-old native of Pensacola, Fla., corpsman and a co-worker of Jaenke's.
Many fondly recalled her as loving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, as well as ketchup on everything she ate.
During the service, a picture presentation was played, after which several co-workers shared their thoughts and memories.
A rifle salute was conducted, followed by those gathered here lining up to have their own personal moment of remembrance at the memorial.
Bray asked his sailors to bookmark the event in their memories, "to revisit it later... at a time and place when you are surrounded by families and friends and can safely let your guard down."
As Seabees, the personnel of NMCB 25 focus primarily on construction-based projects for different units in the region, including the 1st Marine Logistics Group. The unit arrived in Iraq a few short months ago and expects to return to the States in the fall.
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