UNION CITY, GA, U.S.A.
LCPL, H&S CO, 2D BN, 3D MAR,(RCT-7, I MEF FWD, 3D MAR DIV, KANEOHE BAY, HI
09/28/2006, ALASAD, IRAQ
LCPL Chamroeun joined the Marines in July 2004 and graduated from basic training in October 2004 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC. James also deployed to Afghanistan before being stationed in Iraq. James lived with his mother and father, a sister and four brothers. He graduated Creekside High School, participating in the ROTC program there. He was a pretty quiet person with a dry sense of humor. But he became more animated as you got to know him.
James is described by fellow Marines as a “soft-spoken but friendly guy.” “One of the most memorable things about LCPL Chamroeun was the way he talked – real slow,” said LCPL Joshua Glaymeyer, a field radio operator and James’s friend. “He had this catch phrase – ‘Whoa.’ Whenever he said it people would always smile. I will really miss him.”
LCPL Chamroeun was a field radio operator, and member of a U.S. military Explosive Ordnance Disposal security team in the Hadithah Triad region. In Iraq, EOD teams investigate and destroy roadside bombs, enemy weapons and munitions caches.
“Learning of LCPL Chamroeun’s death hit me hard,” said 1st LT. Jonathan Stoddard, Chamroeun’s platoon commander. “Instantly the war in Iraq became much more than distant news reports.” As the ceremony memorializing LCPL Chamroeun began, Marines listened to friends and fellow Marines recount their memories of James.
“It didn’t matter if he was asked to do something simple or something that other Marines would complain about, he attacked it in a steady way and got the job done,” said Stoddard.
“I’ll always remember the late night conversations we had. We’d talk about everything,” said LCPL Kyle Kirkman, a fellow field radio operator. “Chamroeun will always be a friend to me. He won’t be just another person I’ve met along my life. I will carry a little piece of him with me everywhere I go.”
Following tributes, 1st SGT. Craig J. Cowart gave a final company role call. After calling out the names of several other Marines in the formation, who all quickly responded with a loud, “here, 1st Sergeant.” Cowart called Chamroeun’s name three times – each time Cowart was met with a solemn silence.
Following the ceremony, Marines took their turn to kneel in front of James’s memorial – represented by LCPL Chamroeun’s rifle, military boots, dog tags and photo – for one last chance to say parting words, pray or touch the fallen Marine’s belongings for the last time.