SALISBURY, NC, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, WPNS CO, 1ST BN, 6TH MAR, (1-1 AD, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC AR RAMADI, IRAQ 10/21/2006
Son. Brother. Friend. Marine. American hero.
Lance Corporal Nathan Elrod was remembered Saturday as the ceremony room at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Charlotte was named for him.Nearly 50 people filled the small room, and another 20 more stood quietly in the hallway, including a half-dozen Marines in their dress blues.More than 8,000 future servicemen and servicewomen pass through the station each year before reporting for training at their particular branch of service.
Elrod completed processing here on June 8, 2004. He was killed in action in Iraq on Oct. 21, 2006. He was 20 years old.
Elrod was the son of Tim and Teresa Elrod of Rockwell, and the brother of Chris and Shannon Elrod.
When she was in high school, Shannon Elrod drew a detailed portrait of Elrod in full battle gear. This portrait is featured prominently in a framed display of the Marine, which was unveiled Saturday in the 20-minute ceremony.
Unveiling the 2-foot-by-3-foot gold frame were Marine Sgt. A.M. Roseboro and Petty Officer J. Rodriguez.The display also includes a citation from the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps, a photograph of Elrod in his dress blues and a plaque dedicating the room to him.
“This room represents our future,” said Teresa Elrod, “and it represents all of the young men and women who made the decision to serve their country. Without these young people, without their sacrifices, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms we have today. I thank God for these brave young men and women.”
Major Ott Siebert, also a Marine, commands the station.
“Every day, I see young men and women go through these doors in hopes to make a difference in their lives and to give back to their country by serving in the Armed Forces to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy and cherish,” Siebert said.
“Most of these young men and women go through our doors not knowing exactly what awaits them when they reach their training sites. But they quickly realize upon graduation and their indoctrination in their first duty of assignment that they are much more than just an average citizen into our society.
“They are now soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”
Elrod’s mother said that she and her husband knew that Elrod was going to join the Marines with or without their support. They chose to support him.
“He loved the Marines — most of the time,” she said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Like Siebert, Major Jeff Morgan noted that Elrod wrote of his desire to join the Marines as a sophomore at East Rowan High School when he participated in his class legacy. He had a strong Christian background and a true appreciation for his upbringing and family values, Morgan said.
“He wrote about being a nice, caring person and a hardworking hero in the U.S. Marine Corps,” Morgan said. “His letters from boot camp poured with admiration and love for his family.”
To Elrod’s parents, he said, “Thank you for raising a fine young man. He will be an inspiration for many years to come.
“To Lance Corporal Elrod, I say, ‘Mission accomplished. Semper Fidelis.’ “