AKRON, OH, US
U.S. Marine Corps
CPL, 3D BN 5TH MAR, (RCT-2, I MEF FWD), 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
12/06/2010, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
Marine Cpl. Derek A. Wyatt died December 6, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. Marine Corporal Wyatt, a twenty-five year old resident from Akron, Ohio, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Dec. 6 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Derek was a 2004 graduate of Akron East High School where he participated in the Reserve Officer’s Training Program. As a standout baseball player, he was All City Series second baseman in 2004 when the school won the City Series Championship. He enlisted in the Marines and was serving his first combat deployment.
He had previously been stationed in Japan where he met Kait, also a Marine, and the couple were married in August of 2008. Derek’s military awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global war on terrorism Service Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Family members note that Derek was the one who really got into school and ROTC participation first. Derek’s ROTC instructor noted that Derek never missed a day of school and that he didn’t even skip out on senior day, saying that he was where he was supposed to be.
Derek and his wife were expecting their first child, a son. Their baby boy, Michael Everett, was born, 7 pounds, 11 ounces, the day after Derek was killed in Afghanistan. On the day after the life of a father ended, the first breath of his son was taken. When Kait Wyatt learned that her husband had been killed, she was just four days from her due date for their first child. Monday night, Kait Wyatt, herself a Marine veteran, went into labor at Camp Pendleton in California. A day later, Michael Everett Wyatt was born with a nose like his father’s and a head full of beautiful hair.
Family has rallied around Marine, wife and new-Mom Kait as all struggled with the conflict of simultaneously honoring Derek’s death and Michael’s new life. This struggle is perhaps best said by a family member: “It is like trying to fight the shadow of Derek’s death with the joy of the birth of his son.” Kait’s sister and husband, both Army service members, recognize Kait’s strength, but will be there to support her future path. Family members say the day before Derek deployed, the couple spent time on a beach near Camp Pendleton, California. Derek wore a Cleveland Indians baseball cap. In the sand at the beach, they wrote their names and the name of their future son: Derek + Kait = Michael. And at the end of the day, they watched the sun set into the Pacific Ocean. Derek was planning to finish his most recent enlistment and hoped to move back to Ohio with his wife and son.