Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marine Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver, 20, of St. Charles, Mo.

LCpl. Weaver was assigned to the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Feb. 21, 2008 in Al Anbar, Iraq, while conducting combat operations.

KSDK -- Students and faculty at St. Charles West High School mourned the loss of a recent graduate. On Friday, word came that Lance Corporal Drew Weaver had been killed in action, serving his country in Iraq.

Weaver graduated just three years ago and was voted 'Best Eyes' in his senior year book.

According to Assistant Principal Scott Voekl, Weaver always supported his friends in whatever they did.

"As an easy going young man, as a young man who loved life, loved seeking out adventure, when it came to life and enjoying himself, and everybody here at St. Charles West and in our community will miss him," said Voekl.

As for his own plans, Voelkl remembers as Weaver searched for what he would do after high school.

Just before graduation, Weaver made up his mind to join the Marine Corps. Voelkl remembers the young man running on Zumbehl Road in the morning before school, preparing himself for boot camp.

Some students at St. Charles West knew Weaver, and school administrators plan on having counselors on hand when school reopens on Monday.

No announcements have been made about services for Weaver.

St. Charles Journal - An icy wind blew across the tarmac at Lambert International Airport Wednesday morning — a sharp greeting for one of St. Charles’ fallen. Reporters from TV stations and an honor guard of aging bikers and their families stood behind a fence shivering while a Marine sergeant prepared to read a statement from the grieving family.

Lance Cpl. Drew Weaver was 20 years old when an insurgent’s bullet took his life Thursday."On behalf of all of Drew’s family, we would like to thank all the Marine Corps, all of his classmates, friends, fellow veterans and the community for the support that has been given to our family during this great loss," Sgt. Casey Fulton read. "We consider our son a hero and we are so proud of his dedication and sacrifice that he has given to our country. He will be greatly missed."

According to Fulton, Weaver was patrolling the streets in the Al Anbar province with members of C Company 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion when Iraqi gunmen fired upon his unit.

"Drew Weaver was fatally shot while engaging the enemy," Fulton said. "……… He gave the ultimate sacrifice."

Fulton said he could not release the name of the city because of ongoing military operations.

Patrolling the streets of Iraqi communities is part of the standard routine for Marines in Iraq. Fulton said the patrols ensure there is a visible presence and are instrumental in keeping the peace.

"It’s something that has to be done," he said. "We are out there looking for caches of weapons or insurgent leaders and just keeping the place relatively safe. Unfortunately, this happens."

A light snow began to fall as Weaver’s plane pulled in. His brother Navy Petty Officer Jeff Weaver and his best friend Marine Cpl. Ryan Hanson were on the plane escorting Weaver’s remains.

The two were joined by a Marine Corps honor guard and pall bearers who carried the casket to the waiting hearse and by Weaver’s friends and family members who had come to claim Weaver’s remains.

Hanson and Weaver joined the Marines together on the buddy program, Fulton said.

"They came in together and did basic together before being shipped off to their duty stations," he said. "Cpl. Hanson was stationed in Okinawa and pulled from duty so he could escort his best friend home."

Weaver, a graduate of St. Charles West High School, is remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor and dedication to his country.

"I knew him," Mayor Patti York said Wednesday. "He was a friend of my daughters — really a nice young man. He knew everyone and his death is very close to everybody’s heart. It’s been a long time since anyone from St. Charles has died in combat — it’s still pretty raw. We are doing everything we can for the family. I can’t talk about it without crying. We are very proud of him and his family. Our hearts go out to he family and all his friends."

York ordered flags flown at half-staff in St. Charles until services are concluded Friday.

Prior to joining the Marines, Weaver worked at Jiffy Lube on Zumbehl Road in St. Charles with April Meierotto, 20, of St. Charles.

Meierotto said she felt grateful to have known Weaver when he was alive.

"He was the best kid anyone could ever want," Meierotto said. "He was always there for anybody, and he made the shop a lot of fun."

Erynn Yount, 22, of St. Charles was two years ahead of Weaver at St. Cletus Catholic School.

Yount said she was shocked when she saw news of his death on television.

"He was that sweet little kid who was so laid-back and played soccer and baseball with my brother," Yount said.

Visitation is scheduled from 2-8 p.m. Thursday at Baue Funeral and Memorial Center, 3950 W. Clay St. in St. Charles. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Cletus Catholic Church, 2705 Zumbehl Road.

Weaver’s body will be buried in St. Charles Memorial Gardens. Memorial donations may be sent to the LCpl Drew Weaver Fund c/o Baue Funeral Home, 3950 W. Clay St., St. Charles, MO 63301.

The United States enters its fifth year of combat in Iraq next month. The Department of Defense reports there have been 3,972 U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and 29,080 soldiers wounded. Seventy-four Missourians have died in the two countries; Weaver was the third this month.

"We’ve done this too many times. It never gets any easier," Fulton said. "Any time a Marine is lost, we’ve lost a brother. It gets to your heart."

Marine Lance Cpl. Drew W. Weaver was killed in action on 2/21/08.

1 comment:

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