Lance M Thompson

UPLAND, IN, USA U.S. Marines CPL, WPNS CO, 2D BN, 5TH MAR, 2-BCT, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA AR RAMADI, IRAQ 11/15/2004

During Lance M. Thompson’s time in Iraq, he saw both the ridiculous and the profound. At one point, he found himself sitting in Saddam Hussein’s abandoned hot tub. At another, he saw the bodies of a young mother clutching a small child in a mass grave.

“He saw that and thought he was doing the right thing,” said his father, Gregory Thompson said.

Lance Thompson, 21, of Upland, Ind., was killed Nov. 15 in an explosion in Ramadi. He was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

“He made a comment to me in an e-mail in October,” Greg Thompson said. “It was better to be fighting terrorists in a foreign land than in the streets of New York or Chicago.”

Thompson graduated from high school in 2001 and joined the Marines a few months later. “Lance’s motto was ‘gung-ho,’ and he wanted to keep going,” said Matt Dalton, Thompson’s stepbrother.

Dalton said he knows Lance is looking down on him. “When I’m working the streets, patrolling as a deputy sheriff and as a firefighter, I know he’s going to be my guardian angel,” he said.

Greg Thompson said his son would be proud knowing he fought and died to help Iraqis vote in an election. He said his son sent him a letter in September, two months before he was killed by a truck bomb, which said, “Freedom is not free. It requires sacrifice.”

Greg Thompson said the millions turning out to vote in Iraq Sunday was “fantastic” and said it was a “momentous day in the Middle East.”

“Are you asking me was it worth Lance losing his life?” Greg Thompson asked a reporter Monday from the Chronicle-Tribune. “Being the gung-ho Marine that he was, he would say yes. So I’ll say yes. That is a tough, bitter pill to swallow. It hurts. God, I didn’t want to give up my son.”

Partial results from Sunday’s election could be released as early as Tuesday, though final results from the hand counting of ballots could take up to 10 days, election officials said.

Lance Thompson also is survived by his wife, Dawn.

Lance’s portrait is also located on Poster 1 and Poster 2