DOYLESTOWN, PA, USA U.S. Marines 1STLT, H&S CO, 1ST RECON BN, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA FALLUJAH, IRAQ 04/29/2007
Many believe that leadership is an innate quality rather than something learned. If this is a valid belief then 1LT Travis Manion was certainly born a leader.
“He was so sure what he was doing over there was right,” said his mother, Jannette Manion. “He called the night Bush made his speech about the troop surge and told us, ‘That’s exactly what we need.’ His biggest concern was that the politicians over here were giving life to the insurgents by putting the military and president down.”
“He was a kid with a big heart, never had a bad word for anyone. He was all heart; that is who he was,” Tom Manion said. “We’ve had calls from all over the country, from people who said they loved him like a brother; he really touched people like that.”
As a 2004 graduate of the USNA and commissioned Marine officer during his first tour in Iraq, Manion and his unit were part of many critical events including support of the election, discovery of weapons caches throughout the region and numerous other Iraqi transition missions.
Staying true to his commitment to public service, Manion led an MTT team and with fellow Marines on his second Iraq tour labored diligently to change the outcome in Fallujah, building a brotherhood with the Iraqi Army units and setting the example with strong leadership. On April 29, 2007 during his final patrol mission, Manion made the ultimate sacrifice fearlessly exposing himself drawing enemy fire away from wounded Marines, Manion was shot and killed. His courageous and deliberate actions saved the lives of every member of his patrol.
While Travis is there only in spirit now, his legacy of strong character and leadership continues as his fellow service member’s work diligently to establish a foundation for freedom in Iraq. In honor of Travis and as a true testament to how much he is admired, the Iraqi’s have named their new headquarters in honor of him, Combat Outpost (COP) Manion.
On a Sunday afternoon in late April, 1LT Travis Manion spoke to his father from a dusty Iraqi Army barracks in Fallujah. Manion had recently watched movie “300,” and it made an impression. He told his dad that for the Spartans, there was “no greater honor” than to die fighting for one’s country and its freedoms. He expressed frustration that many Americans didn’t understand that’s what he and his Marines were doing in Iraq. The phone kept cutting out and, unusually, Travis kept calling his father back. He lingered on the phone. He spoke of the importance of honor, strength and courage. He expressed kinship with the Spartans.
A week later, Travis Manion died a Spartan’s death.
Travis’ family, friends and fellow patriots will never forget his passion for life and his incredible sacrifices. Travis will always be remembered for his Spartan spirit and as a “Leader of Marines”.