15th MEU News

Marines pause to honor fallen comrades

3 Feb 2007 | Lance Cpl. Timothy T Parish 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and sailors of 1st Platoon, Company E, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, gathered at the Camp Korean Village chapel to remember two of their comrades, Jan. 30.

Members of the Co. shared stories and fond memories of Lance Cpl. Andrew G. Matus and Lance Cpl. Emilian D. Sanchez, both killed Jan. 21, while conducting combat operations in Rutbah, Iraq.

Matus reported to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego during July 2005.  After graduating recruit training and School of Infantry, he was assigned to 1st Platoon.

Sanchez reported to MCRD San Diego during July 2005.  After graduating recruit training and School of Infantry he was also assigned to 1st Platoon.

Matus and Sanchez deployed during September 2006 with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Matus and Sanchez were hard workers, always trying to find ways to better the lives of their fellow Marines, said 2nd Lt. John P. McLaughlin, 1st platoon commander.  They were consummate Marines, always pulling more than their share of duty. 

“The past couple of months in Iraq wouldn’t have been as good if we didn’t have (Matus) hooking up electricity, making a place for us to take a couple of minutes to get off the roof top,” McLaughlin said.

“Sanchez walked around the battlefield carrying nearly half his weight in (Squad Automatic Weapon ammunition), probably four times as much that I required for the platoon,” McLaughlin added.

During the School of Infantry, Matus made such a strong impression on his fellow Marines they voted him the Marine they’d most want to go to combat with, earning Matus the Paul Ison Award, said Cpl. Brian C. McKibben, squad leader.

Matus’ determination followed him to the fleet.  Matus’ squad leader remembers him as a tireless worker, always finding ways to do something more, and this impressed his leaders.

“Over the last couple of months, (Matus) made a really strong impression on me, I know he did on everyone else,” McKibben said. 

“He always kept quiet, never talked back, most importantly, he found something to do,” McKibben added.

Sanchez’s comrades remember him much the same way. 
“He (Sanchez) would always help you out, too. He enjoyed everything he did.  He loved life,” said Lance Cpl. Trevor A.  Lyons.

Sanchez had a love for life that was always evident in the expression on his face, said Capt. Scott A. Huesing, commanding officer, Echo Co. 

Sanchez had a “quiet determination and smooth smile that always brought calm to everybody,” said Huesing.

Matus also had a knack for improving the situations facing him and his comrades while serving in Iraq, said Huesing.

The impact Matus and Sanchez had in contributing to the mission of Echo Co. is overshadowed by the effect they had on the lives of those with whom they served, said Huesing.

“I’d say they did everything for the love of their family and country and for this company of Marines, without hesitation, without regret, and with extreme pride,” Huesing said.

“Their contribution can not be measured, their spirits can not be replaced, and their sacrifices can not be forgotten,” Huesing added.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit