to find out more about the history of the 3/8.
to find out more about the history of the 3/8.
“3rd Battalion 8th Marines Veterans of Fallujah and Ramadi”, or “3/8 VFR,” is dedicated to support and assist unit’s veterans who served during two major deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom, specifically in cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. The men who deployed suffered heavy losses during these deployments and still are dealing with many physical, mental and emotional conditions as a result of the heavy combat. This is our 8th straight reunion, which is special as it marks the 10th year anniversary of these deployments. The battalion was activated on November 1, 1940 and assigned to 2nd Marine Division. Our motto is “Fortuna Favet Fortibus" which means "Fortune Favors the Strong." During World War II 3/8 participated in the action at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa. Since 9/11, the Battalion took a major role in the Global War on Terror. Including participation in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 2001 to September 2002. Two of the most defining deployments for 3/8 were Fallujah 2005 and Ramadi 2006 From January to August, 2005, 3/8 was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, where most of its members experienced combat for the first time. 3/8’s mission was to stabilize and pacify the region which just went through a major U.S. offensive in Fallujah. In Fallujah 3/8 faced a resilient insurgency that coordinated attacks on Abu Ghraib Prison and other Forward Operating Bases in the Area of Operations. Most importantly, the battalion helped defend polling sites for Iraq’s first democratic elections. During this deployment 3/8 lost 8 Marines, Killed in Action (KIA), and sustained over 114 casualties. After a short turnaround following the operation in Fallujah, 3/8 was deployed from March to October, 2006, to Ramadi, Iraq. As many units that preceded 3/8, they quickly learned that Ramadi was one of the worst places on earth.* Assigned to U.S. Army’s 1st Armor Division, 3rd Battalion 8th Marines were charged with securing the center of the city. This deployment quickly became a constant, day to day, urban combat battle against a well supplied insurgency. In less than 6 months the Battalion lost 17 Marines and Sailors, KIA, and sustained over 240 casualties. *Michael Ware, “The Most Dangerous Place,” Time, May 29, 2006, p. 34-42. During these two deployments 3/8 was awarded Navy Unit Commendation, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal. Members of 3/8 also became highly decorated with over 25 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, 40 Navy Achievement Medals, 350 Purple Hearts and 1 Bronze Star. The highest award, Bronze Star with a V for Valor, went to a member of 3/8 Weapons company, awarded posthumously. On June 8, 2006, PFC. Sanchez’s section came under heavy enemy fire. An enemy RPG hit under the Humvee that PFC. Sanchez, a turret gunner, was in. As the stopped patrol came under small arms fire Sanchez continually returned fire suppressing 2 enemy positions while his vehicle, and him, caught fire from the RPG. His actions allowed the rest of the platoon to take cover which in turn saved Marine lives. He was able crawl out of the vehicle, after he sustained 2nd degree burns. He was killed a month later in another attack. In 2008 we started an annual reunion for men of 3/8 Weapons Company with no more than 20 attendees. Since then we held this reunion every year and each year we grew bigger, over 80 guests last year. These reunions are held in remote areas all over U.S., mainly in secluded cabins. In this privacy we participate in unit events and games and provide dining to the guests. These reunions are open to all members of 3/8 who served during these deployments and in the past few years they included members of other Companies from 3/8 and parents of lost brothers. Many of these veterans have suffered injuries from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), RPGs, and Small Arms Fire. Some of these injuries are visible, however, there are many invisible ones such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of these veterans do not have an opportunity to connect with other combat veterans, not to mention their brothers from 3/8, in their daily lives. Many are still emotionally suffering and coping with the experiences from the war. Some cannot get government support as they are still pending VA claims. These reunions serve as an emotional support and healing network for our brothers where they can feel normal and connect with their brothers in arms. Even though we have grown in number of participants since 2008, there are many that still cannot make it due to lack of financial means for travel fare and food purchase. Some that do make it often do so at financial expense they cannot afford. Due to this our mission is simple but hard to achieve. As an organization, 3/8 VFR, we are working hard to provide a safe environment and support network for our brothers. We are currently filling paperwork to become a federally incorporated non-profit 501(c) and as we grow we want to assist these men through financial and support means. Currently we are fundraising through various means, including crowd funding sources such as GoFundMe Campaign. This year’s reunion will be held on August 13 to 16, 2015, in Poconos, PA, will cost about $6,000. This amount includes: Cabin rental, $3,000 Reunion t-shirt, $25 each Catered Dinner, $50 each Currently there are 40 members of 3/8 attending with spouses and partners, and 12 family members of the fallen. However, there are many more that cannot afford to attend. Any donation would first go to assist members of our unit that do not have financial means to pay for the trip. Then the rest of the money would go to expenses for the reunion. On Saturday, August 15, we are holding a reunion dinner catered by one of the local restaurants. During this dinner we will have presentations from LtCol. Liston and Sergeant Major Dagenhart, memorial video and team activities. PFC. Stephen Baldwyn LCpl. Robert Mininger LCpl. Jacob Beisel LCpl. Nicholas Whyte Cpl. Timothy Roos LCpl. Adam Murray PFC. Enrique Sanchez PFC. Chase Edwards LCpl. Marcus Mahdee Cpl. John Olson GySgt. Terry Ball LCpl. Michael Postal LCpl. Taylor Prazynski LCpl. John Schmidt III SSgt. Eric McIntosh Cpl. Scott Procopio HN. Genovani Padilla LCpl. Kun Young Kim LCpl. Justin Sims LCpl. Richard James LCpl. Kevin Lucus Cpl. Riley Baker Cpl. Julian Ramon Cpl. Joseph Tomci Cpl. Christopher Warndorf