EDGEWATER, MD, US
U.S. Marine Corps
SGT, 5TH ANGLICO, (I MEF FWD), III MEF, OKINAWA JAPAN
05/28/2012, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for the portrait of my son, Julian Chase. If you had known him, I’m sure you would have liked him. He was very kind and tolerant of others and at the same time a very serious Marine. He made Sergeant in three and a half years. His MOS was 0861.
Julian was born in Washington, D.C. on March 28th, 1990 – exactly 22 years and 2 months before he was killed in action on Memorial Day, 2012. Julian was an only child; he always longed to have a brother; he found many in the Marine Corps. While in junior high he rowed crew, in large part to peel off a bunch of baby fat. His coach was a Marine Corps sniper. They hit it off – Julian was very mature for his age. He had been commuting to school by subway since he was in second grade; he walked up DC’s notorious 14th St. to the subway and rode the subway by himself.
His mother and I had separated when he was 2 1/2 yrs old. He grew up with me on weekends in Maryland where we both attended AA meetings. We spent nearly every weekend and summer vacation together up through junior high. We were very close. He was always wise beyond his years, loyal and duty bound from a very early age (he was a AAA crossing guard in elementary school).
He had an infectious sense of humor and made friends easily. He allowed people who were uncomfortable, socially inept to feel welcome and accepted. I was amazed at how many people have claimed him as their best friend. I asked him for advice one time when he was ten or so about a work situation; he told me “Just be Kind”.
At maybe 15 years old, he told me that he wanted to be a Marine. I was both proud and scared for his safety. He promised to be careful. When I suggested that he could be a Marine and not be a ground pounder – his reply was “Dad, someone’s son has got to do it”. Again I asked him to be careful and again he promised he would be. There were no slots in infantry or combat engineers available to him. The Corps picked him for 5th ANGLICO. There in his third year as a corporal, he was chosen to form, train and lead Fire Control Team 7. I was fortunate enough to tell him the last time we spoke, by satellite phone in Afghanistan, that I was truly proud of him, not just as father for his son, but because of who he was and what he had become… how he had stepped up, volunteered for all the sacrifices involved in combat, how he had become a leader of men, how he had taken responsibility for others and for who he was and where he was going.
He was on his second tour. His first tour he earned the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device. He was to receive the NAM for among other things; “carrying the teams M240 in addition to his forward observation equipment… Demonstrating superb leadership, initiative, knowledge and endurance he was a driving force for the team on over fifty combat foot patrols and four named operations.” Julian volunteered for his last patrol. He was scheduled to leave country in 6 days. He was getting out of the Corps in 3 months and 3 weeks; he had been accepted at 3 universities and one college. He had not made up his mind about staying in the Marine Corps Reserve – I think he would have.
There will be no monuments, just his grave stone in Arlington National Cemetery. He was the only one in his high school class to join the Corps, very nearly all the rest went to college. He chose the Corps because he knew he wasn’t mature enough to get the most out of college (he could be oh, so earnest), to pay his own way and to measure himself against the highest standard available – the United States Marines. He will not be forgotten. Not Fade Away Julian, Not Fade Away.