MESA, CO, USA
LCPL, L BTRY, HQBN DET, 3D BN, 11TH MAR, RCT-7, 1ST MARDIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ 04/09/2004
People from Wyoming and Colorado gathered in the small mountain town of Dubois, Wyoming, to pay respects to native son and Marine Private First Class Chance Phelps, who was killed in Iraq. Chance’s funeral service was held in the high school gymnasium, the only building large enough to hold so many mourners. A horse-drawn wagon conveyed Chance’s body up the hill to the cemetery. Main Street was lined with people, and bagpipes played Amazing Grace.
Chance’s parents, Gretchen Mack and John Phelps explained that their son started talking about joining The Marines after the United States was attacked on September 11th. That just changed everything, said Gretchen Mack. He just told me, “I got to go.” I couldn’t stop him. I didn’t want to stop him, but my heart was just … you know, I think I always knew really that he probably wouldn’t come back.”
Mack said her son drew people to him with his humor. He had an unusual amount of zest. He just possessed this quality that he had to be in the thick of things all the time. He was very, very positive, very funny. His main thing in life was making people laugh.
The young man also loved to hunt and fish and spent summers with his father in Wyoming. Chance was also the subject of a powerful HBO movie called “Taking Chance”.