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'Men who look death in the face and continue to move forward'

By Cpl. Daniel A. Blatter , Regimental Combat Team 2

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CENTCOM

Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, in Sangin, paused at Forward Operating Base Nolay, Dec. 28, 2010, to honor Cpl. Derek A. Wyatt, a team leader for 1st Platoon, Lima Company, Lance Cpl. Kenneth A. Corzine, a rifleman in 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Lima Company and Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk, a machine gunner with Weapons Company. All three Marines were killed in action while deployed with 3/5 in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

SANGIN, Afghanistan (Jan. 7, 2011) — Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, in Sangin, paused to honor Cpl. Derek A. Wyatt, a team leader for 1st Platoon, Lima Company, Lance Cpl. Kenneth A. Corzine, a rifleman in 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Lima Company and Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk, a machine gunner with Weapons Company.

Wyatt and Rusk were killed in action, Dec. 6, 2010 and Corzine was killed in action Dec. 24, 2010.

Many Marines in Sangin attended the memorial and paid their respects to their fallen brothers.

The short, quiet ceremony was marked by Bible verses and prayers honoring the fallen heroes.

Final Roll was called three times for Wyatt, Corzine and Rusk only to be answered by silence. Taps followed in a final farewell.

Wyatt was born in Canton, Ohio on October 6, 1985. He graduated from Akron East High School in Akron, Ohio before joining the Marine Corps. His personal decorations include the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon.

Wyatt is survived by his wife Katherine and his brothers Andrew, Josh, DJ and Scott.

“Cpl. Wyatt loved his job, he loved his wife and he was a mature and proficient infantryman who led his men from the front and was well respected by everyone in first platoon,” said Lt. Col. Jason L. Morris, Battalion Commander, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “On December 6th, Cpl. Wyatt was killed by accurate rifle fire while his fire team provided security for the rest of his platoon.”

“Cpl. Wyatt will never be forgotten.”

Corzine was born in Madison, Ill., on May 4, 1987. He graduated from Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, Ill., before joining the Marine Corps. Corzine’s personal decorations include the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon.

Corzine is survived by his parents, Kenneth and Carla Corzine.

“Lance Cpl. Corzine enjoyed life and he never hesitated to carry a heavy load or walk point,” said Morris. “On December 5th, he was conducting a dismounted security patrol with the rest of his squad when he was gravely wounded from an IED strike. Unfortunately for all of us, despite his rapid evacuation and medical treatment, he never fully recovered and on Christmas Eve, he succumbed to his wounds at Bethesda. Fortunately his parents were at his side.”

“Lance Cpl. Corzine will also never be forgotten.”

Rusk was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on September 23, 1990. He graduated from Orange Grove High School in Orange Grove, Texas. Rusk’s personal decorations include the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon.

Rusk is survived by his parents, Darrell and Kathy Rusk, and his two brothers, Cody and Brady.

“Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk was an outstanding Marine who was well respected by his platoon mates and his superiors for his professionalism and his proficiency as a machine gunner,” said Morris. “On December 6, as he swept for secondary improvised explosive devices, Lance Cpl. Rusk was mortally wounded by accurate rifle fire and later succumbed to his wounds.”

“Lance Cpl. Rusk will never be forgotten.”

As the ceremony came to an end, Morris asked, ‘Where do we get men such as these, men who look death in the face and continue to move forward.’

“I think fortunate for all of us; many Americans still understand that the freedom that we enjoy is not free. These men knew that their calling was to serve and if necessary to sacrifice everything,” said Morris. “Now, all three of these men have been taken home on their shields as great warriors should be and are now at rest.

“I give thanks that I have had the opportunity to serve with men such as these.”