Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marine Sgt. Dennis Kancler

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Dennis Kancler, 26, of Brecksville, Ohio

Sgt. Kancler was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died July 31, 2011 in Herat province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Patrick R. Dolphin and Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle.

Sgt Kancler was a "joint terminal attack controller," a highly skilled job in which Kancler ordered military firepower from the air or the ground, said Maj. Jeff Landis, a spokesman for the specials operations command.

Sgt Kancler enlisted in the Marines after graduating Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School in 2003. He left the Marines after a few years, but then decided to re-enlist.

Sgt Kancler was two months into his third deployment. He had previously been deployed twice to Iraq.

His father, Dennis A. Kancler, former Brecksville Police Chief who retired this past January, says his son was a private person who liked working out and spending time in the woods deer hunting, and was hoping to finish his degree in sports medicine. He joined the Marines because he wanted to serve his country after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kancler said his son also was influenced by his wife's brother, who served in the Marines, and a fellow Leatherneck, Capt. Mike Carlin of the Brecksville police.

His son left the Marines after the Iraq deployments, according to Kancler, but only lasted about six months in the civilian world. "He said, 'Dad, there's nothing like being with the team. I'm a Marine. I belong over there. It's what I do. It's who I am.'

"He re-upped with absolute pride, knowing what could happen," he added. "We're very proud of him. He loved his team, and we loved being part of the Marine family."

Kancler said before the latest deployment in June, his son took his mother, Paula, and sisters Colleen and Stephanie (who are married to Marines) skydiving. His sister Nicole also joined the gathering, but did not go parachuting.

Mother, Paula, says she does not like heights, but for her son she figured, "I’d mom up and do it," because the jump was important to him. "It was an awesome experience . . . he was so proud of us."

She said that while she will always remember him for the wonderful son that he was, she knows he will widely be recalled as one of the many who died in the service of their country. "I thank the Marine Corps for allowing my son to be one of a few good men," she said

"My son absolutely is a hero and to us he always was," Paula said

Father and son took a motorcycle trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the renowned "Tail of the dragon" section in Tennessee with 318 curves in 11 miles.

Kancler recalled walking with his son back to the base for deployment to Afghanistan, and "I watched him transition into all-business. He was quite the professional.

"He no longer looked like my son," he said. "He looked like the man he became."

Sgt Kancler's body arrived Aug. 9. accompanied by his brother-in-law Ken Blonski, also a Marine.

Sgt Kancler was laid to rest on August 11 at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.

Sgt Kancler is survived by parents, Paula and Dennis; 3 year old son, Jack; sisters, Colleen, Stephanie and Nichole.

Marine Sgt. Dennis Kancler was killed in action on 7/31/11.

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