COFFEE, AL, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, CSSD 21, (CLB-2), 2D MLG, CHERRY POINT, NC AL QAIM, IRAQ 10/06/2005
Carl was from Coffee, Alabama. His full name was Carl Lex Raines II. He was born to Carl Sr. and Gillian in Heidelberg, Germany, while his father was an Army staff sergeant and military policeman. He had two sisters and a stepbrother. Before his death, Carl planned to serve two more years with the Marines and then he wanted to become a personal trainer and open his own business.
Carl crisscrossed the United States before winding up in Wiregrass, playing midget football in New Brockton and attending Dauphin Jr. High and Enterprise High Schools. Raines was in JROTC for three years and rose from a cadet private to commander of the drill team. He excelled as commander of the Enterprise ROTC drill team, leading the squad to several awards including a national championship. “He was a good boy and a good leader,” said Sgt. Maj. Johnny Snodgrass, his former JROTC instructor. “Everybody respected him and they did what he told him to.”
He graduated from high school in 2003 and soon joined the Marines and graduated from MP school before hitching on to the 2nd Force Service Support Group, stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Because he was a sole surviving son, Raines did not have to fight in Iraq, but volunteered to go. “He went because of his buddies,” said his father, Carl Raines Sr. “He wanted to protect them, fight with them.”
Carl was not only tall and handsome, but he was also a lot of fun. “He was a jokester; he could tell some good ones,” said his father. Carl’s mother Gillian called him “the little rascal,” and said her son was “just a fun-loving kid,” who was kind to others. “He’d do anything he could to help someone.”
His father also recalls that his son could be stubborn at times. But he also says that Carl never met a person he didn’t like and who didn’t like him. A former school board president, Jimmy Jones, remembers Raines all too well in high school as a loyal friend with a mission. “He was someone you looked up to. He was a leader,” said Jones.
Carl wrote a letter to his father about a month before his death. “He said he had no regrets and he told me I had done a good job (raising him),” said Raines. And in that last phone call, the one his father almost didn’t answer, “He told me he loved me,” Raines said.