Photo Information

120217-M-GY762-003::r::::n::Petty Officer 3rd Class David C. Elizardo sheds tears at a Feb. 17 memorial service aboard USS Makin Island here honoring fellow hospital corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyler L. Estrada, who died in a Djibouti training accident Feb. 14. Estrada, who served with Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, was 21 and a native of Maricopa, Ariz. “Doc died in the company of his brothers,” said company commander Capt. Matt McGirr. The landing team is the ground combat element for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of responsibility. Elizardo, 28, hails from Madrid.

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn

Unit honors fallen corpsman

17 Feb 2012 | Capt. Roger Hollenbeck 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

All hands celebrated the life and service of Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyler L. Estrada during a memorial service aboard USS Makin Island Feb. 17.

Salt dried on once-moist cheeks, but from others the tears kept flowing. Solemn tones complemented a poignant quiet throughout the ship.

The men of India Company – reinforced by Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Makin Island – gathered to honor their corpsman, Doc Estrada, a Fleet Marine Force sailor who died during live-fire training in Djibouti on Valentine’s Day.

A display of more than 700 men and women pressed shoulder to shoulder and filled the ship’s aircraft hangar with heavy hearts.

“Doc died in the company of his brothers – brothers who trained and sweat with him, brothers who rushed to his side and would not give up on him after he fell,” said Capt. Matthew McGirr, commanding officer of India Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, Estrada’s company.

McGirr thanked everyone in the hangar for being at the service and said, “We will honor Doc by keeping faith in him in the manner that we have honored every single Marine and doc that has lived, trained, fought and died next to us and underneath our guidon. We are going to pick up our swords; we are going to lock our shields together, and we are going to step forward, together as one.”

One of Estrada’s squad mates, Cpl.  David Zochol, took to the podium and spoke: “From my time in the Marine Corps, I have come to realize there are two types of docs. The first is a corpsman in a Marine uniform; the second is a Marine in a corpsman uniform. All those that knew Doc Estrada would agree that he was the latter.”

Zochol said the loss will be felt in India Company for a long time. He said, “No matter how terrible and long-lasting the pain, it pales in comparison to the pain felt by his wife and family back home.”

Eleventh MEU chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Jon Conroe said Estrada was “a young man full of life and humor and devotion to his family, to his fellow sailors and Marines, to his country and to his god.”

Said Conroe, “Doc Estrada’s presence in our life was truly a gift – a gift with which we will be forever blessed.”

A detail of seven Marines who served with Estrada fired rifle volleys in his honor and a Navy bugler sounded taps.

On his Facebook page, Estrada summed up his job: “Fix broken Marines.” The eulogies attested to his skill in just that.

McGirr added that although Doc is gone, he will never be forgotten.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Caleb Hyatt
Commanding Officer

Colonel Caleb Hyatt is a native of Tamarac, Florida. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant following graduation with merit from the United States Naval Academy in May 2001. Colonel Hyatt’s command positions include Guns Platoon Commander, Battery S, 5th Battalion, 10th Marines; Headquarters Battery Commander, 5th Battalion, 11th Marines; Battery R Commander, 5th Battalion, 11th Marines; and Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines. Colonel Hyatt has deployed in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM with artillery, light armored reconnaissance, and logistics units. Colonel Hyatt holds a BS in Computer Science, MA in Management, MMAS in Theater Operations, and an MS in National Security Strategy. Colonel Hyatt is also a 2023 distinguished graduate from the National War College.

Read Biography

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.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Geronimo Guzman
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major Guzman enlisted in the Marine Corps in November of 1998. He attended recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. In April of 1999, Private First Class Guzman transferred to the Material Readiness Battalion, 3rd Force Service Support Group, Okinawa, Japan. In July of 2005, Sergeant Guzman reported to Drill Instructor School, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. In May of 2011, Staff Sergeant Guzman reported to the Officers Candidate School, Quantico, Virginia. In November of 2019, Sergeant Major Guzman was promoted to his current rank and reported to Recruiting Station Sacramento. In July 2022, Sergeant Major Guzman reported to 1st Maintenance Battalion, where he previously served as the Battalion Sergeant Major.

Read Biography