Corps of Cadets honors fallen Marine
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
The Corps of Cadets gathered on the Quad Wednesday night for Echo Taps to honor fallen Marine and former H-1 Commander Nathan Anderson. Anderson was one of seven Marines to die during a military training exercise Feb. 22 in Yuma, Ariz.
John Kriel, Class of 2003 and former Marine, was a cadet under the command of Anderson. He said Anderson was the epitome of a Marine officer.
"He put himself second after his country," Kriel said. "He was training people in a combat zone … Trying to better the other Marines to have success, which is something I think all Marines hold highly — to look out for other Marines."
Before cadets gathered in formation, Kriel read aloud a letter written by 2003 H-1 Commander Chris Snyder to the current H-1 cadets. Kriel said he read the letter to make sure H-1 knew the kind of guy they were standing out there honoring.
In the letter Snyder said Anderson didn't need to yell to command respect.
"He did it with sheer presence," Snyder wrote. "The guy was a physical specimen: big, intimidating. Not once in the outfit, Ross Volunteers, Bonfire or anywhere else did I ever see him fall out of a run, do one less push-up than the guy he was pushing with or ask anyone to do something he wasn't willing to do himself."
Marquis Alexander, next year's recently selected Corps Commander, said the news of Anderson's death hit him hard because the two had a lot in common — both Marines and Company H-1 cadets.
"It instills a sense of pride in you … I'm in the same organization as him, I share the same beliefs as him. And to know that he was doing that to help his country, to help me," Alexander said. "[It's] overwhelming that some people are willing to give everything for people they don't even know.
Aggies take care of their own, especially when a fellow cadet dies, Alexander said.
Within just a couple days of hearing the news of Anderson's accident, H-1 Commander Brandon Sims requested that an Echo Taps be organized in honor of Anderson.
"H-1 ‘Rough Riders' are here to support Nathan's family and fellow Marines whichever way we can," Sims said. "We will honor the sacrifices he made, and the memory of him."
Sims said Anderson was the third H-1 "Rough Rider" to be killed in the past four years.
Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 26 Aggies have lost their lives, Anderson being the most recent and third killed outside of Iraq or Afghanistan.
Alexander said it takes a strong will to volunteer in the face of a war. He said Anderson inspires him want to stand up and do his part.
"[It's] an honor to call myself a Marine after him, to follow in his footsteps. I hope that I could live up to the expectations and the standards he set for himself," Alexander said. "I know he is greatly missed."
Garrett Schubert, Class of 2010 and former H-1 cadet, said H-1 does the tasks that actually matter while out there in the military.
"When you lose an H-1 cadet … that is an extra blow to the United States," Schubert said.
Justin Perkins, Class of 2002, traveled from Houston to pay respects to his former classmate and cadet.
"You can't say enough about guys who go through everything that's part of the Corps, and then to be a commander of his outfit, those are the kind of guy you want to hang around with," Perkins said.