Friday, September 03, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Ross S. Carver

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Ross S. Carver, 21, of Rocky Point, N.C.

LCpl. Carver was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Sept. 3, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

The death in Afghanistan of a young Marine from Wilmington is yet another reminder that the few are bearing the burden of this prolonged war.

Lance Cpl. Ross Carver's wife, parents and 5-month-old son are just the latest in a string of families who have lost a loved one in a war zone so far from home. At just 21, he faced dangers that most people cannot begin to imagine, in a place where the ideals of democracy are just beginning to bud and tribal and cultural differences threaten to tear apart what progress we have made there.

The Laney High School graduate followed his older brother into the Corps, knowing full well what he would face: rigorous training that, if mastered, earns one the right to be called a Marine, and the very real possibility of being wounded or killed in action.

He faced both with the commitment that befits a member of our armed services.

His wife, son and the rest of his family will mourn him, and his adopted hometown will salute his decision to serve his country as a U.S. Marine.

But with Camp Lejeune just 50 miles to our north, each Marine – serving abroad or here at home – is part of an extended Southeastern North Carolina community. In fact, Wilmington is within two hours' drive of a number of major military installations, including Lejeune, New River Air Station, Fort Bragg Army Base, Pope and Seymour Johnson Air Force bases and the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. A VA clinic has opened in Wilmington and a smaller-scale one will open in Brunswick County.

Camp Lejeune is in our back yard, and many Marines attached to the base have returned home in flag-draped coffins, or with missing limbs or other wounds that will leave them with permanent disabilities. They may not all have family in the Cape Fear region, but they are our family nevertheless.

As we mourn with Lance Cpl. Ross Carver's family, let us also remember the families of other service members – those killed or injured since the U.S. entry into Iraq and Afghanistan, and those still stationed over there. Unlike most of us, who go about our daily lives without much thought about the perils facing our men and women over there, these families live with the reality of war every day.

That's not to suggest that we are uncaring. We show our gratitude often, with local drives to send greetings and treats from home and through heartfelt salutes to veterans and service members throughout the year. Those little gestures are meaningful, but they can't match the sacrifices of military families or the men and women of our armed forces who put everything on the line.

Lance Cpl. Ross Carver was our neighbor, as are all 53,000-plus Marines who are attached to our closest military base, Camp Lejeune and the adjacent New River Air Station. When we lose any of them, we lose a valued member of our community.

"He died being a hero. He died doing what he loved," says Brandy Carver. Her husband, Lance Corporal Ross Carver was out on a special mission in Marjah, Afghanistan Thursday when he was shot in a fire fight.

Brandy found out when she came home from the beach. "As I was walking in, pretty much my heart sank to the floor. At first I thought maybe he had just gotten hurt because I only saw one person and as I'm rounding the corner you saw the chaplain and you saw another gentleman waiting there. And he asked me my name. He asked me if my husband was Lance Corporal Ross Carver and I had said 'yes' to the questions and then he was like 'I'm sorry to inform you, but your husband has been killed' and I dropped to the floor."

Ross and Brandy were Laney High School sweethearts. A year after they graduated, they got married. In June, Ross left for Afghanistan, just a few months after their son William was born.

"He was always there to help somebody out. He would always go out of his way, whether it be for another marine, or for a family member or just for somebody on the side of the road."

Brandy is still receiving Ross' letters in the mail. "People don't understand what these men and women do for our country. They do it for people to do what they want."

She couldn't have more pride in the man Brandy calls her prince charming, her hero. "I'm proud of him. I don't regret the day he joined the military. I backed him up 24/7 and I still do."

Brandy works as a family readiness assistant, helping other military wives who lose their husbands in war. Now she's having to go through it herself. Brandy says she's gotten more than 700 calls from people in Wilmington who knew her husband.

Lance Corporal Ross Carver's body will be returned to Wilmington Wednesday. His funeral is Friday.

Ross, you were a great: Submitted by Guest on Mon, 09/06/2010 - 10:19pm.Ross, you were a great friend and always looking to help someone. So many people looked up to you and we still do. I can't belive your gone. My heart goes out to Brandy and little William. Brandy is strong and is a tue marine wife. She will make sure your son knows who you are. My heart goes out to your family. It wasn't supposed to end like this but you died doing what you love....Semper Fi...I love you Ross you were a geat friend.

Missing my son: Submitted by Momma Tonya on Mon, 09/06/2010 - 6:27pm. Ross you will be missed. I feel like I lost a son. The hole in my heart will be a constant reminder of you baby boy. I could not have been prouder of you. I will keep your family in my prayers. Heaven must have needed another HERO, I LOVE YOU AND WILL MISS YOU SO MUCH

Marine Lance Cpl. Ross S. Carver was killed in action on 9/3/10.

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