Heroes Live Here Book Chronicles Fallen Camp Pendleton Marines Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan War – NBC 7 San Diego

Before the U.S. war in Afghanistan officially ended in August 2021, Marines were preparing for combat operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, primarily at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. For 20 years, the base was the center for training and permanent deployment of troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Now, a book called Heroes Live Here: A Tribute to Camp Pendleton Marines Since 9/11, written by a local Marine formerly stationed at Camp Pendleton, reveals the compelling stories of those who served in those wars and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Camp Pendleton’s memorials pay homage to the Marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan

“The book is a way to keep their names alive, to inspire the next generation of young soldiers to take pride in their service, to inspire patriotism, but also to honor those sacrifices,” said Amy Forsythe, who served first at Camp Pendleton was stationed in 1995 as a Navy combat correspondent.

“It also tells our Gold Star families and these other Marines that we remember their service,” Forsythe said.

A compilation of photographs and stories, the book also gives insight into memorials and tributes placed on the base that are not open to the public.

“There are a lot of memorials here at Camp Pendleton that a lot of people don’t know about, so I wanted to bring them to life and share them with the Marines that have moved on or with the Gold Star families,” Forsythe said.

Among them are memorials originally erected in Iraq and Afghanistan that are now on display at Camp Pendleton.

The Blue Diamond Memorial stands outside of the 1st floorSt The Marine Division Headquarters was built in Afghanistan and includes dozens of dog tags adorning each side.

An Iraqi-built “T-Wall,” typically a 12-foot concrete wall that serves as a protective shield, now stands outside the base canine training center. It honors Sgt. Adam Cann, the first dog handler killed in action since the Vietnam War.

“It is worth sharing and telling the younger generation what happened after 9/11. From 2001 to 2021, that’s the great sacrifice of our Marines and Sailors from here at Camp Pendleton,” Forsythe said.

Among the more sobering and poignant memorials at the base is the 1St Marine Expeditionary Force Memorial Wall. Modeled after the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC, it features the carved names of more than 1,200 Marines who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least one of the monuments sits where Forsythe calls “off the beaten path,” on a hill overlooking the sprawling base.

One stone is engraved with the words “McClung Ridge” to honor Maj. Megan McClung, the first woman Navy officer killed in the Iraq War. McClung and Forsythe deployed together in Iraq in 2006.

Earlier this year, on Memorial Day, Forsythe McClung’s mom got to show the tribulation.

“Her reaction was just so overwhelming and so emotional. While Megan is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, we have a memorial to her on the west coast here at Camp Pendleton,” Forsythe said.

A particularly moving statue on a pedestal is called No Man Left Behind.

The statue is a replica of a photograph showing a wounded 1stSt Sergeant Brad Kasal in Fallujah, Iraq. The statue is now in front of the Rafael Peralta Wounded Warrior Complex. Sergeant Peralta grew up in San Diego and was killed in the 2004 Battle of Fallujah. The sculpture was made by an artist whose Marine son was killed in Ramadi, Iraq.

The Heroes Live Here book is available here.

About Cindy Johnson

Check Also

Mom, supporters shave heads for second graders with cancer

MELBOURNE, FL. – Over Memorial Day weekend, the mother and stepfather of second grader Vivian …