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MSSG-24 celebrates life of fallen brother

28 Aug 2004 | Staff Sgt. Demetrio J. Espinosa 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

In a sunrise memorial gathering, Marines and sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit paid tribute to a fallen warrior here Aug. 28.

Friends and colleagues came together to remember Cpl. Barton R. Humlhanz, a field military policeman assigned to Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 24, 24th MEU, who was killed in action Aug. 26.

Cpl. Humlhanz, 23, a native of North Hampton, Pa., was remembered by many fellow Marines as a dedicated professional who strived for success in all aspects of his life.  Marines Humlhanz worked with emotionally explained his accomplishments.

"Cpl. Hanz was a great Marine, who accomplished a lot in the few years he was in the Marine Corps.  Most Marines of the past, present or future probably will never accomplish," said Sgt. Deon A. Washington, Cpl. Humlhanz' squad leader and a military policeman with MSSG-24.  "Marine of the Quarter, meritorious corporal, for that I am proud of him.  We are going to miss a great brother."

Standing apart from his peers, Cpl. Humlhanz also made an impact on his superiors. 

"Anytime a person is lost, it is a tragedy, but when you lose one of your own, it has a greater impact. Cpl. Humlhanz was this command’s first meritorious corporal and was Marine of the Quarter," said Lt. Col. Vincent A. Coglianese, MSSG-24 commanding officer.

More than losing a great Marine, the Marines and sailors of the 24th MEU have lost a great friend who made an impact in the life of everyone he touched.

" The loss we suffer is almost beyond comprehension," said Coglianese. Our fallen comrade was a friend and fellow Marine with whom we have served and sacrificed, fought an enemy, and helped a nation rebuild. The loss will not, however, cause us to falter or fail. To the contrary, this loss will lead us to redouble our efforts and drive on. If we are to continue making progress -- and we have indeed made great progress -- we must continue to move forward. We are resolved to do just that."

Humlhanz' fellow Marines were sad and overcome with emotion at his passing, but felt comforted by the thought that their friend is now looking out for them.  A sentiment illustrated by his fire team leader, Cpl. Jared Riske, 23, a field military policeman, Humlhanz' fire-team leader, and Concord, Mich., native.

"So as we go back to work without our friend and brother, let us remember that we’ll always have a guardian angel watching down on us. So when it’s dark, and you’re scared, and the dust is thick, just remember to pray because God’s up there watching us right now. And no matter what situation you’re in, Hanz is standing over his shoulder, saying ‘Help them, Lord. Those are my friends.’”