YELM, WA, US
U.S. Marine Corps
SSGT, CSSG-1, (CLB-7, 1ST MLG, I MEF FWD), MCAGCC, TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA
04/02/2006, ASR URANIUM, IRAQ
As a proud boy, he liked to say his name was Abraham Lincoln George Washington Twitchell. That boy grew up to become a proud Marine.
Family and friends described Staff Sergeant Abraham George Twitchell as a dedicated father and husband, a natural teacher and a man who worked and played hard. About 450 people gathered at Woodlawn Funeral Home on Saturday to eulogize Twitchell, who was killed April 2 in Iraq when the truck he was riding in rolled over in a flash flood.
“I am thankful for my son. I am thankful for what his life was lived for,” Maurice Twitchell said. “Abe is a man of honor and integrity.”
Twitchell, 28, of Yelm was among six Marines who died in the rollover near Al Asad. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group, Combat Service Support Group 1, I Marine Expeditionary Force, in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He was six weeks into a yearlong deployment, his first to Iraq.
First Sergeant Kevin Pietsch said his fellow Marine was always eager to teach. When someone asked a question, he wouldn’t answer, “he would always tell how to find the answer,” Pietsch said. Likewise, he wouldn’t fix something if asked, but rather show how it could be fixed.
“He taught me to live for the day, don’t worry about miniscule things that you can’t do anything about. If you can do something about it, just do it,” he said.
Twitchell was devoted to his wife, Stephanie, evident when he spent the day before he left for Iraq buying birthday and Valentine’s Day cards for her, Pietsch said. Twitchell would also speak proudly of his two stepsons and their participation in sports. Brian Twitchell said his brother loved fatherhood — making knight armor for Halloween costumes, fixing bikes and doing other activities with his children. He said Twitchell also looked up to his grandfathers, both World War II veterans, one a paratrooper and one a medic who died in France.
He was a true Marine — “full of pride, always standing tall,” Brian Twitchell said.
After the service, the funeral procession walked through an aisle of U.S. flags held by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that formed out of respect for military members who risk their lives and frequently attend funerals of military members and veterans. Members of the 4th Landing Support Battalion out of Fort Lewis also attended.
Twitchell enlisted while still attending Yelm High School and went to boot camp after graduating in 1996. He married Stephanie in 2004, and was father to daughter Makenzy, who was born in August, and stepsons Zachery, 12, and Zane, 8. He also is survived by his mother, Mary Anne, and stepfather and “pop,” Ray Ross; his father and stepmother Maurice and Eileen Twitchell; five siblings and numerous other relatives.
He was an armorer, customizing handguns and rifles for soldiers in Iraq and was assigned to the Combat Service Support Group-1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. The Weapons Training Battalion dedicated the Precision Weapons and Ammunition Test Facility, a portion of Harllee Hall, in honor of Staff Sergeant Abraham G. Twitchell.
‘‘Clearly, from his long service as a Marine here at Weapons Training Battalion, Staff Sergeant Twitchell made an impact on this institution and the Marines he served with,” said Brigadier General James Laster, commanding general for Training Command. ‘‘His name and legacy will be permanently woven into the fabrics of all Marines who walk through these doors.”
The newly named facility tests weapons built by the precision weapons technicians, said Master Sergeant Pedro Rodriguez, production chief for Precision Weapons Section.
‘‘Before sending precision weapons out to Marine Corps units in the fleet, precision weapons technicians use the facility to test them,” Rodriguez said. ‘‘The facility was originally formed to support rifle and pistol teams throughout the Marine Corps, but since the war, we have expanded to support Marine Corps units who use precision weapons.”
Laster recognized members of the Twitchell family who attended the event.
‘‘A building dedication is a true honor, not only to the Marine whose name will mark this building for years to come, but also to the family of that Marine,” Laster said. ‘‘It is in large part due to (the family’s) mentorship, guidance and support for Abraham throughout his life that he was the man we commemorate today.” Twitchell’s name will inspire Marines here to serve selflessly and strive for excellence, he added.
‘‘His name will not be forgotten … not here at Weapons Training Battalion, not by our Corps, and not by the grateful nation we serve,” Laster said.