Friday, September 17, 2010

Marine 1st Lt. Scott J. Fleming

Remember Our Heroes

Marine 1st Lt. Scott J. Fleming, 24, of Marietta, Ga.

1st Lt. Fleming was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died Sept. 17, 2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Kaneohe Marine, 24, dies in Afghan pre-election patrol
The deadliest year for U.S. forces in the nine-year war in Afghanistan claimed the life of a Hawaii-based Marine last week.

First Lt. Scott J. Fleming, 24, of Marietta, Ga., died Friday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, the Pentagon said yesterday.

The 24-year-old Fleming was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Kaneohe Bay. Fleming was commissioned in the Marine Corps in August 2008 and joined 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in October 2009. He was serving as a platoon commander with 1st Platoon, Kilo Company.

First Lt. Fleming earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Fleming's unit deployed to Afghanistan in May to conduct counterinsurgency operations partnered with Afghan national security forces.

He was serving as commander of Kilo Company's 1st Platoon.

CBS Atlanta said Fleming's unit was conducting pre-election security operations when the Marines came under small-arms fire and Fleming was struck in the neck.

He was taken to Camp Leatherneck, where he was pronounced dead, CBS reported.

He is survived by wife Brandi, who is in Hawaii; father Joseph; mother Joanne; and sister Andrea.

Contacted in Georgia, family members declined to comment.

"We're still numb," Joseph Fleming told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fleming had a long discussion with his son about going to Afghanistan and what could happen.

"He said, 'I may not come home,'" the father was quoted as saying.

The Marine officer had e-mailed family about a week before he was killed and told them he was in a firefight, some Marines were wounded and that his platoon would be going back into the area, the Journal-Constitution said.

Scott Fleming began his Marine training after he graduated from LaGrange College with a degree in education, the newspaper said. He married about a year ago and wanted to make the Corps a career.

The Pentagon said militants tried to disrupt Saturday's parliamentary elections with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade attacks.

So far this year, 312 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, surpassing the 267 killed last year.

The Hawaii Marines are in and around Nawa district in central Helmand, an area of about 90,000 people.

Another Kilo Company Marine, Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, 23, died in July when he was swept away in the Helmand River.

A third Marine, Pfc. Jake W. Suter, 18, died May 29 while supporting combat operations.

In a September newsletter to families, the Hawaii battalion said that at the halfway mark of the deployment, it had conducted 2,710 foot patrols and 524 vehicles patrols in Nawa district.

Marine from Marietta killed in Afghanistan
The words from a Marine captain were according to script, but they tore a hole in a father’s heart.

“I regret to inform you that Lt. Scott Fleming was killed in action,” were the words coming in to the cell phone as Joseph Fleming and his wife sat in a restaurant at the Florida line on Friday, a stop on their way to a vacation.

Their son, Marine Lt. Scott Fleming, was killed in combat in Afghanistan.

Joseph Fleming, speaking to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Saturday, repeated the rest of the death notification by rote. There was small arms fire. His 24-year-old son died at a base hospital.

“I heard that statement from the captain all night long,” the grieving father said from his home in Marietta.

“We’re still numb,” he said of his wife, their daughter and their daughter-in-law who is in Hawaii. “This just happened yesterday. He was with a support team of Marines.”

Scott Fleming was shot as his unit was conducting combat operations Friday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. His unit was providing security for the parliamentary elections.

“We had a long discussion about this; what can happen," Joseph Fleming recounted of his talks with his son about going to Afghanistan. "He said ‘I may not come home.’”

The father’s response was “I know.”

Scott Fleming was a sophomore at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell on Sept. 11, 2001, and it was those attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that led him to decide to join the Marines.

“He was pretty affected by 9-11,” Joseph Fleming said. “He decided he wanted to be a Marine officer and he chose the infantry.

Joseph Fleming said his son was outgoing and open about his thoughts and feelings. “We had no secrets. He was a great person,” the father said.

And he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

Scott Fleming began his Marine training two weeks after he graduated from LaGrange College with a degree in education.

He met his soon-to be-wife while he was training in Quantico, Va., Scott and Brandi Fleming married a year ago.

He told his family he planned to make the military his career.

Scott Fleming talked to his family in Georgia – father Joseph, mother Joanne; and younger sister, Andrea – several weeks ago and told them “things were looking good” in Afghanistan. Yet in an e-mail a week ago he wrote about the fight on a recent mission during which his and other platoons engaged the Taliban.

“There were casualties and he was responsible for calling in medevacs,” Joseph Fleming said. “He says ‘next week my platoon is going back into that area and everything should go fine and if not everything will be fine.’

“And it wasn’t,” Joseph Fleming said.

1st. Lt. Fleming is survived by his wife Brandi Landrigan Fleming currently in Hawaii, his parents Joseph and Joanne Fleming and a sister Andrea Fleming all of Marietta, GA.

First Lt. Fleming will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine 1st Lt. Scott J. Fleming was killed in action on 9/17/10.

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