Saturday, August 07, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius, 20, of Ashtabula, Ohio

LCpl. Cornelius was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 7, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

ASHTABULA — A 20-year-old Lakeside High School graduate and Marine died Saturday in Afghanistan from wounds he suffered at the hands of a detained enemy combatant, the U.S. Marine Corps reports.

Lance Cpl. Kevin Cornelius was shot and died in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, his family confirmed Sunday. He was the son of Ashtabula Police Capt. Gerald Cornelius and Marlene Cornelius and Valerie and Bob Silleck, all of Ashtabula.

Kevin Cornelius “died of wounds he suffered performing combat operations against enemy forces abroad,” the U.S. Marine Corps reports.

Cornelius’ step-brother, Bob Fortune, said representatives from the Marine Corps arrived at his mother’s front door at 9:30 p.m. Saturday to break the news.

“This is just unbelievable,” Fortune said. “We are so sad but so proud at the same time. I just wish he were here so I could show him how much I respect him. There isn’t enough I can say about him and his sacrifice.”

Kevin Cornelius died on his father Gerald Cornelius’ birthday, his step mother, Marlene Cornelius, said.

U.S. Army Second Lt. Eric Cornelius, Kevin Cornelius’ brother, is stationed in Alabama and is on his way to Ashtabula, the family reports.

Funeral arrangements are pending the arrival of Cornelius’ body from Afghanistan, Fortune said.

Jerry Cornelius said his son died doing what he loved for a country he loved.

According to his commanders, Kevin Cornelius was serving as a radio operator and rifleman assigned to 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines in Helmand Province on Saturday evening. What follows is the commanders’ account of what happened on that evening:

“A heavily armed detained enemy combatant escaped from the Afghan National Police and retreated into a building. Kevin was one of the first Marines to volunteer to respond. Part of a four-man element, Kevin led the way in this initial entry.

As he fired his weapon through smoke and debris, Kevin was mortally wounded when struck in the head by an enemy round.

“His actions helped gain a foothold in the building and ultimately led to the death of the enemy fighter. Although Kevin was immediately treated on the scene by competent medical authority, he succumbed to his wounds.”

“(Kevin) was very proud to be a Marine and he never complained, no matter how tough it was. He always said he was exactly where he wanted to be doing exactly what he wanted to do,” he said.

Kevin Cornelius’ favorite quotation, viewed on Facebook, is “The brave may not live forever, but the cowards do not live at all.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin M. Cornelius was killed in action on 8/7/10.

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