AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq --
With heavy hearts and tender words, the Marines and Sailors of 1st Maintenance Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st Marine Logistics Group, honored the passing of a friend and fellow Marine during a memorial ceremony here, Oct. 27.
Lance Cpl. Stacy Ann Dryden, 22, from North Canton, Ohio, a preservation, packaging and packing specialist with Supply Company, 1st Maint. Bn. (-) (Rein.), was described by her peers as a strong spirited person who could always be turned to for support.
“She left a lasting impression,” said Sgt. Sheldon D. Johnson, 28, from Queens, N.Y., the platoon sergeant for the Material Distribution Center, Supply Co. “If you met her, she would always greet you with a warm smile.”
When asked what she was smiling about, Dryden would answer the question with “nothing” and return another beaming smile which spread to those around her.
“She made me feel not so homesick,” said Lance Cpl. Morgan Gray, 23, from Westbrook, Conn., shipping clerk with Supply Co., 1st Maint. Bn. (-) (Rein), about her friend who she knew since their military schooling together. When Gray arrived at Camp Pendleton, she was excited to find that her friend Dryden lived just a few doors down.
“Whenever you needed her to talk, to laugh, or to cry she was always there,” said Lance Cpl. Travis L. Lantz, 22, from Deland, Fla., a preservation, packaging and packing specialist with Supply Co.
Dryden deployed to Iraq in August and hit the ground running, motivating the other Marines in her shop with her positive attitude and blessing them with her compassion.
“She made a difference,” Johnson said. “She was the first one to lend a helping hand to those that needed it and comfort them when they were down.” Johnson also commented that Dryden had all the motivation and esprit de corps to be the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps.
Dryden worked side-by-side with her fellow packaging specialists at al-Asad where her positive attitude helped make things easier in the combat environment.
“You’d fall in love with her company,” said Lance Cpl. Lamarr W. Robinson, 20, from St. Louis, a fellow packaging specialist with Supply Co. “She’d make you smile when you’d call her phone just knowing that she’d say ‘What’s up?’”
Her care for her friends and co-workers affected all around her and filled the air with nothing but smiles, explained Robinson who encouraged the crowd of mourners to stay in that celebrated spirit in her honor, as she would not want them to mourn.
“She would say ‘enjoy life Robinson, never waste a second.’”
Dryden’s passing weighed heavily on her fellow Marines who took time to pay their final respects at a memoriam in her honor.
“She was a Marine who reflected well on the uniform she wore,” said Navy Lt. Jeffrey J. Ross, the battalion chaplain, 38, from Atlanta. Ross encouraged the crowd to remember the tremendous positive effect she had on everyone.
“She will always be in our hearts and we’ll remember her as a marvelous person and overall great Marine,” Lantz said.