Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Marine Cpl. Allen C. Roberts

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Allen C. Roberts, 21, of Arcola, Ill.

Cpl. Roberts was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.; died Nov. 28, 2007 from a vehicle accident near Al Asad, Iraq.

Urbana Champaign News-Gazette -- ARCOLA – Flags in Arcola and Douglas County were lowered this morning in remembrance of Marine Allen C. Roberts, who died in Iraq.

The Department of Defense hadn't released the details of Roberts' death this morning, but those who remember Mr. Roberts said he was a caring, helpful man who took his military duties seriously. Mr. Roberts was a 2004 Arcola High School graduate.

Cindy Mills, Arcola's guidance counselor when Mr. Roberts attended school there, remembers him clearly. He was always laughing, always smiling, but took his work in the Marines seriously.

"He was very loyal to his country," Mills said, "and he was very proud of what he was doing."

Mills also remembers that Mr. Roberts, an only child, had a close bond with his mother, Jaye Roberts. She did not immediately return a phone message.

"He was a respectful young man who cared about his mother and cared about her wishes," Mills said. "You don't find a lot of those. They're not average."

Randy Rothrock was Mr. Roberts' principal from the time Mr. Roberts was in seventh grade until he graduated. He remembers that the last time he saw Mr. Roberts, the young man seemed satisfied with his military career.

"He had really found his place," Rothrock said. "I think everybody was really proud of what he accomplished. ... I'm sure he was a great Marine."

Former social studies teacher Richard Fay remembers Mr. Roberts as being interested in current affairs during his high school years. He remembers Mr. Roberts being devastated after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and paying close attention to the war in Iraq. Fay would bring in veterans of World War II and the Korean War, which Mr. Roberts enjoyed.

"Allen, he just loved that," Fay said. "He ate that stuff up."

Rothrock said it was a pleasure watching Mr. Roberts mature during his years in school.

"He just got more likable and more into things every year," Rothrock said, adding that faculty members could always count on Mr. Roberts to volunteer and that he was heavily involved in Boy Scouts.

He played football for four years at Arcola and was involved in drama there, as well, Mills said.

"He never wanted to be somebody he wasn't; he never tried to belong anyplace that he didn't," Mills said. "He was himself and he was comfortable with himself."

Rothrock said Mr. Roberts is the first Arcola resident lost in a war in recent memory, and Mills said it's tough news because everyone in Arcola knows him.

"This will shake us," she said.

And Fay knows Mr. Roberts will be remembered with gratitude.

"Allen was a true hero," Fay said. "He gave it all."

Douglas County Board Chairman Chuck Knox said he has directed all flags at county facilities be lowered to half-staff until the funeral is over as a token of respect. "May God grant comfort to his family and friends and welcome Allen home," Knox said.

Marine Cpl. Allen C. Roberts died 11/28/07 due to a vehicle accident in Iraq.

No comments: