Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marine Pfc. Victor A. Dew

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Pfc. Victor A. Dew, 20, of Granite Bay, Calif.

Pfc Dew was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Oct. 13, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations. Also killed were Marines Cpl. Justin J. Cain, Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald and Lance Cpl. Phillip D. Vinnedge.

With her fiancé stationed in Afghanistan, 20-year-old Courtney Gold continued to write in her diary as if she were talking to him in person. Gold said she planned to give him the entries once he returned home to Granite Bay.

The couple had been engaged for less than two months when she received an unexpected visit at school Wednesday from her fiancé's mother. Pfc. Victor Dew, a Marine and Gold's fiancé, had died that day after a roadside bomb exploded outside his military vehicle during a combat mission in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

"They both fell to the floor screaming," said her mother, Amber Gold. "It was the most excruciating thing, watching your child hurt and to know that such a wonderful young man wasn't coming home." Her daughter hasn't written a journal entry since Dew's death.

Local resident Mark Soto said a neighbor of Dew’s parents, Tom and Patty Schumacher, witnessed the arrival of the Marines, who informed the parents of their son’s death. The neighbor later confirmed the information and called Soto, whose two sons are currently deployed in Afghanistan.

Soto spoke to Dew’s dad, Tom Schumacher, Friday morning. “He’s not good,” Soto said. “Obviously, he’s still in shock. We were crying. My boy is in the same unit as his son. We haven’t heard from him since (last week).”

Soto, who coached Dew in football at Granite Bay High School, said the parents will receive their son’s body in New Hampshire and are supposed to return home Saturday.

Dew, 20, an anti-tank assault specialist, was one of four Marines killed in the blast. It was his first combat deployment; he had been overseas only about three weeks.

"He was the kind of guy that would give his last breath to you if you needed it," said Dew's fiancé, a student at Boston Reed College in Roseville.

On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered his condolences to the victims' families, friends and fellow service members.

"These four Marines gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country and their service will forever be remembered and honored," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Flags at the state Capitol were flown at half-staff.

Tim Healy, athletic director at Granite Bay High School, said Dew played football for two years and as a senior belonged to the campus Random Act of Kindness club. "He had a great spirit, a really neat kid," said Healy. "He was a kid other students gravitated toward. His disposition was so pleasant."

Healy taught Dew in government and economics classes. It did not surprise him that Dew decided to join the service, because the young man had such a giving nature. "He was one of those kids who cut across every clique," said Healy. "He fit in everywhere."

Dew's fiancé said they met through friends, and she was attracted to his smile and humor. They had known each other about six years before they started dating.

In August, after they'd dated nine months, he popped the question during a family trip to Disneyland. Posing for a photo in front of the amusement park, he asked Gold, "Are you ready for your magical experience? How would you like to make it more magical?" before he got down on one knee.

"From the first time he told me he loved me, I knew I wanted to marry him," said Gold, who on Friday was wearing her engagement ring on one hand and a bracelet that read "Young Love August 26, 2010" on the other. She wore his military dog tags around her neck.

After he was deployed to Afghanistan, Gold said, she sensed at times Dew was nervous about serving overseas, but she recalled he always wanted to be a Marine. He had a Marine flag hanging above the desk in his bedroom for years, she said. "He felt like it was his duty to serve his country."

After the Marine Corps, Dew wanted to become a nurse or emergency medical technician, Gold said.

Friday, Gold received a letter Dew had written before his death. The last paragraph read: "I miss you, babe and I can't wait to hold you close. I can't wait to say 'I do.' There's so much to think about, a lot of emotion, however I'm calm and clear. I will be fine, baby girl."

On her closet door hangs a wedding dress Gold bought before Dew left for Afghanistan. She plans to take a photo of herself in the dress and place it in Dew's casket.

"He was meant to see me in that dress," she said. "He was the honest-to-God hero to me and my family."

His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Medal.

Marine Pfc. Victor A. Dew was killed in action on 10/13/10.

No comments: