JAMESTOWN, MO, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, 7TH ESB, 1ST MLG, CLR-1, I MEF, CAMP PENDLETON, CA ABU GHURAYB, IRAQ 05/06/2006
Leon was born at home on a bitter cold morning Nov. 13 1986, our “Bonus Baby”, strong with a sweet disposition. As our “Caboose”, he was protected and raised by his two older brothers who taught him take a punch and get up grinning, his three bossy sisters who fought over the little guy too small to win an argument, his veteran Mom who believes in meals to set your clock by, taught him the patience to pick a row of green beans clean and to kneel at his bed and pray, his Marine Corps veteran father who taught him how to hit the deck running, good to go, not to slouch at flag ceremony and how to sharpen his knife, and a community best described as the “salt of the earth”. He grew up running in the soft hills and creek bottoms of the Missouri River Valley. Always obedient, he was a good student, anyone’s friend, loved by all, and answered to Buddy, Bud, Uncle Lon, Bert and Bird Man.
Leon went through Cub Scouts, Webelos, and earned rank quickly in the Boy Scouts. His achievements include 35 Merit Badges, the Order of the Arrow, a Rocky Mountain High Adventure Trek, National Boy Scout Jamboree 2001, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, a Philmont Scout Ranch Expedition 2002, Cimarron, New Mexico, many service projects and Camporees. Under guidance from veteran Scouter, Richard Schroeder, Leon’s Eagle Project was the recovery of the abandoned Hardiman-Beatty AME Cemetery, just north of Jamestown. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout on March 13 2005.
Leon participated in many sports at Moniteau C-1 School, Jamestown including baseball, basketball, track, and field. He was also a member of the FFA. He was voted Prom King his senior year, 2005. Leon enjoyed many outdoor activities including hunting, fishing and off roading with his Jeep (when he wasn’t pushing it!). He was an active member of Annunciation Catholic Church, California, MO. Leon was employed at Advanced Chimney Techniques of Jamestown, MO and Cal’s Thriftway, California, MO before graduating high school.
He pre-enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the fall of 2004 while a Senior in high school. Leon graduated in May of 2005. He left for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Deigo, in June of 2005. Because of his Eagle Scout achievement, Leon entered the Marine Corps as a Private, First Class.
In September 2005, he graduated from Basic Training with many members of his proud family cheering him on. He went on to complete Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California and Engineers School, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. With his training completed in February 2006, he was deployed with members of his engineering unit to Iraq.
Leon died while on duty May 6, 2006. However, “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines”. He still stands his post and he’s the one with the big grin, ear to ear.