Waterbury, CT, US
U.S. Marine Corps
PO3, H&S Co, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Division
4/16/2011, Hampstead, NC, US
Family members, friends, Marines and sailors gathered to honor two corpsman with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, during a memorial service, May 19, 2011, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Petty Officer 3rd Class William J. Keys, passed away April 16, after sustaining injuries from a fatal car accident.
The commanding officer for H&S Co., Captain Gregory S. McSween, approached the podium and emphatically stated that no words could ever replace the great man who had passed. He described how Keys’ positive attitude and constant willingness to seek self-improvement enriched the lives of those around them.
“He was a truly exceptional corpsman,” said McSween. “His loss has been felt throughout the battalion, particularly in H&S Company.”
During the memorial service, friends who served alongside Keys were given a chance to pay their respects. One after the other, fellow comrades wept at the podium, describing the man in personal detail.
“It’s hard for anyone who didn’t know Keys to know how awesome he was,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brent T. McGuire, a corpsman with 1/2. “To most of his fellow corpsmen, he was their fellow sailor. To the Marines, he was ‘Doc’. He was always that guy who everybody knew they could go to, to get the job done no matter how hard the task was,” he said.
As the ceremony drew to an end, Sergeant Major Joel A. Collins, sergeant major for the unit, advanced to front of the crowd, came to attention and called out the names of Marines and sailors. Replies of “present” could be heard over the crowd’s somber silence until the names of the fallen sailor were repeated several times with no response. A single trumpet bellowed “Taps” while Marines and sailors raised their hands to salute their fallen brother, giving the fallen corpsman a final and honorable farewell. stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC.
From Williams mother: My son, William J. Keys was a scout sniper Navy corpsman. Will was born to be in the military deciding at the young age of 5 that he wanted to join the Navy. He was a kind-hearted guy who often gave away his care packages to Marines who did not get any mail from home. He called home often just to tell us he was safe and loved us. We miss him so very much.