Company C, BLT 1/4, Marine memorialized

1 Oct 2004 | Cpl. Matthew S. Richards 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells was a warrior poet fighting for the Marine Corps and rapping in his spare time. He lived with the spirit of an ancient bard, and fought beside his fellow Marines in many intense battles. He was killed in action Aug. 6 deep in the holy Shia "Wadi al Salam" cemetery of An Najaf, Iraq.He was the only Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), Marine that died during the vicious fighting against Sadr's Mahdi Militia.Company C paid their final tribute to him in the orange glow of the sunset here Sept. 12. Marines, soldiers, sailors and even American and Iraqi contractors took part in paying quiet respect during a solemn celebration of Wells' life among his fellow Marines."People say that Lance Cpl. Wells didn't die in vain, and they'll give you reasons like the cause is worthy or that we avenged his death. But I think the most important reason Wells didn't die in vain is because he didn't live in vain," said 1st Lt. Jeremy T. Sellars, Wells' platoon commander, 1st Platoon, Co. C.Wells, a 22-year-old native of Mt. Hermon, La., was well remembered by his fellow Marines for his ability to smile, among his other talents. "He was always making jokes and he was always happy," said Cpl. Marcus A. Cannon, Wells' team leader, 1st Platoon, Co. C.Wells and Cannon came to know each other on their long journey aboard ship to Operation Iraqi Freedom I. Wells asked Cannon what he thought about a rap song he had written on ship. "I didn't know him very well before that, and I guess he did that to just sort of break the ice," Cannon said. "After that we sort of hit it off and he was always singing." The two fought together in OIF I and shared a barracks room together when they came back. Cannon remembers how Wells would be singing and writing "freestyle" rap songs to cheer up his fellow Marines in the worst of conditions."He was always willing to bring up the cheer of those around him that didn't seem to have it that day, and he never let it get to him no matter how long we were in one crappy place or another," Sellars said.It didn't matter where they were. Wells was always writing his songs and sharing them with his fellow Marines. He wrote all kinds of songs to be serious and to inspire laughter."Even during the war, we'd be sitting in a fighting hole and he'd be writing them on a (Meal Ready-to-Eat) box," Cannon said. "They weren't always serious either. Sometimes he'd do them just to be funny."Rapping became a common ground where the two grew to be friends."He was always trying to help me learn to do it," Cannon said. "He was trying to help me learn how to write the lyrics."But Wells had a serious side also."He was definitely a pleasure to worth with and an honor to lead. At all times he was motivated. He'd stand right beside you, he worked and he made sure you worked," said Sgt. Phillip Ledesma, Well's squad leader, 1st Platoon, Co. C.Wells even left that impression on his commanding officer."As the CO it's hard to get to know all of (my Marines) on a personal level. What I did know about Wells was that he was determined and motivated," said Capt. Matthew T. Morrissey, commanding officer, Co. C. "Those are two words that get thrown around quite a bit in the Marine Corps… probably too much. But in Wells case, they meant something."But the friend that Cannon lost is what he remembers most."He was a close friend that was always there whether you needed him or not," Cannon said.This camaraderie can be seen in part of the lyrics to one of Wells' songs that Cannon read aloud to the mourning onlookers."… I joined the Marine Corps; this is the country I live forJust another band of brothers fighting for the freedom of each otherWe're like brothers closer than Batman and RobinYa slip up and you're gonna get snuck, stowed and stuck up by all of us…"

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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