Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert S. Greniger

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert S. Greniger, 21, of Greenfield, Minn.

LCP Greniger was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died July 12, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Lcpl Greniger, the oldest of four children, had just returned to Afghanistan after a two-week leave in Minnesota over the Fourth of July holiday, when he was killed in a roadside bomb explosion. He served as a combat engineer.

Lcpl Greniger graduated from Rockford High School in 2009 and joined the Marines few months later in November. He was promoted to Lcpl in Janurary. He deployed to Afghanistan in March. This was his first deployment.

Nick Jacobs, Greniger's former high school counselor, said being a Marine was all Greniger wanted to do. "He was just really excited to join the Marines and that was one of his goals right away after high school," Jacobs said.

Julie Merila, an English teacher at the high school, described Greniger as a "terrific guy" but indifferent student, not uncommon for a kid who had trouble reading.

"Once he found what he was going to do, he would go after it no-holds-barred and be driven to do the best job possible. That thing just wasn't academic," she said. "I'm not surprised he ended up in the military, and I imagine he was very good at what he was doing."

Merila said the friends he hung out with all planned to join the military and would argue about which branch was best. "That's the way those guys were...'What can I give you a hard time about now?'" she said. "At the same time, anybody from outside who would have done that, they would have been the first to step up and have each other's back. It seems like a pretty good fit all around for the military.

Friend, Adam Lewis, said that when he and Greniger were in school, they were often in class together because they both had minor learning disorders that made reading difficult. "We were in class together, in gym together. We hung out. We went fishing."

Lcpl Greniger joined the Marines out of a pact with fellow classmates who thought the military would be exciting and a way to serve their country.

Lewis said Greniger enlisted in the Marines "because he wanted to be one of the elites." He said Greniger was excited about his first deployment.

Lewis, a member of the Minnesota National Guard is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan early next year.

Friend, Melissa Harlan, "Its really hard and it's really shocking because he was so young. Why does it have to happen, you know?"

His mother, Teresa, said her son was very proud to be a Marine and that he had switched units so he could serve in Afghanistan.

"He talked about getting to know some people, especially some of the natives around the main base where he was at. He had met a little girl that looked just like his youngest sister, Greta, who's 8. He was teasing her about getting him some bread, and the girl went home and got him some bread," his father, Kurt, recalled.

His father, a wheelchair softball and basketball player, said, "He traveled with me everywhere. He was our bat boy during softball."

Kurt also coached his son's summer league baseball team in Rockford for about five years and said when Robert was younger, he liked karate.

"When he got focused in on something he really liked, he really focused," his father said. "When he joined the Marines, that's exactly the way it was. He really enjoyed the people he was around in boot camp and all the way through."

Kurt Greniger said his son was "a very unique, loving son. More than anything he enjoyed being around his friends. He had a big heart."

Lcpl Greniger's last message on Facebook was on July 7, just five days before he was killed. He said he was returning to "my little place I call home in Afghanistan."

Sister, Khloe, said of her brother, "my best friend, my knight in shining armor, you're always there for me, now you're gone."

Lcpl Greniger is survived by his mother and stepfather, Teresa and Kurt; wife, Ashley; siblings Khloe, and Henry; biological father, Tom Kieser; half-sister, Trinity.

Marine Lance Cpl. Robert S. Greniger was killed in action on 7/12/11.

No comments: