The Marine Corps released a combat correspondent story today with an immediate emotional punch: One of the Marines quoted in it died in combat two days after being interviewed.
Lance Cpl. John Farias, of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, told combat correspondent Cpl. Benjamin Crilly on June 26 that 1/5’s new outpost in the Upper Sangin Valley, Patrol Base Faheem, was allowing them to push to the north more frequently, even as they took fire from insurgents regularly. He was buried last week in Texas.
From the story:
“We were too far south,” said Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon machine gunner for 3rd Plt. “It was important for us to push north and be right in the enemy’s backyard. This is where they are centrally located, so we are able to be constantly breathing down their necks. The more we show our presence up here, the more we can start swaying the people to our side.”
Four paragraphs later, the story acknowledges another key detail: Farias died in combat two days later.
3rd Platoon really is the tip of the spear as the most northern element in the 1/5 battle space. We are in firefights every day. The minute we pass the first tree line there is a 90 percent chance we are going to get contact, which is good because we are here to draw them into contact,” said Farias, from New Braunfels, Texas, who was killed in action in the Upper Sangin Valley when his squad came under fire. “We are acting as a shield for the guys down south and keep pushing the insurgents north.”
A scan of the Internet shows a seven-minute video he made for family June 2 while downrange. He describes the living conditions, his post-deployment plans and the way Sangin was forcing him to grow up.
Farias was laid to rest in his hometown last week. A letter he wrote before his death was read at the funeral, the San Antonio News-Express reported.
“I don’t want anyone to be sad or cry over me,” he wrote, according to the newspaper. “Tell my nieces and nephews to remember me.”