AL TAQADDUM, Iraq -- Marines with Explosive Ordinance Disposal Platoon and 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) gathered at the main-side chapel here to mourn a fallen ‘Leatherneck.’
Cpl. Aaron L. Seal, 23, a combat engineer with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 9th ESB lost his life while engaged in operations in Al Anbar Province.
The Elkhart, Ind., native was known to some Marines as a hard worker that made every ounce of a hard moment into a pleasant experience. They consider him a Marine’s Marine and his reputation carried throughout the command.
“Seal believed in his cause and he believed in his country,” said Lt. Col. Mark J. Mennoti, 39, commander of 9th ESB and a San Diego native. “He influenced Bravo Company and his family and friends back home.”
“I’m thankful and humble to have known him,” said Maj. Mark Boone, 35, commander of Bravo Company and a native of Medford, Ore. “He gave his life for our way of life, for America and the free world.”
He added Bravo Company shall step forward in operations with memories of Seal remaining always in their minds.
During the service, Marines who knew him best shared poems, bible scriptures and testimonies based on their fondest memories of him.
“He was a great person, an outstanding Marine, and most of all a great friend,” said Cpl. Andrew Freeman, a heavy-equipment operator with Support Company, 9th ESB. “I consider Aaron to be one of the greatest friends I have ever had.”
“He was always there to lend a helping hand,” said Sgt. Francios Cummings, 30, squad leader of 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon and a native of Indianapolis. “He always reminded me of what a great non-commissioned officer was all about.”
The ceremony concluded with closing remarks and prayer by Navy Lt. Alan Snyder, 37, chaplain of 9th ESB and a Tulsa, Okla., native, immediately followed by a 21-shot rifle salute in honor of the Marine that sacrificed his life for freedom.
“Aaron was always there for me even when my life was at its lowest point,” said Freeman, 23, native of Granger, Ind. “He will always be missed.”
Seal’s awards include the Purple Heart, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon, Select Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Ribbon.