Noah M. Pier
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 116-10
DOD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Corporal Noah M. Pier, 25, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died February 16, 2010, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaii public affairs office at 808-257-8838.
Family calls fallen Marine 'our hero'
Charlottean Noah Pier killed in Afghanistan, fighting for a cause "he believed in."
By April Bethea
Courtesy of the Charlotte Observer
20 February 2010
Lance Corporal Noah Miles Pier, 25, of Charlotte, died Tuesday while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. He "loved to laugh," his family said.
Lance Corporal Noah Pier always wanted to be a Marine, and his family said they'll miss his "laughter and love of life."
Pier "was our son, brother, grandson, uncle and cousin. He believed in what he was fighting for and he died for your freedom," the family said in a statement late Thursday.
Pier, 25, of Charlotte, died Tuesday while serving in Afghanistan in the combat offensive in Helmand province, the Department of Defense said this week. He was a machine gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Pier, who joined the Marine Corps in 2007, had served one previous tour in Iraq and deployed to Afghanistan in November.
Here is his family's statement:
"Lance Corporal Noah Miles Pier was our son, brother, grandson, uncle and cousin. He believed in what he was fighting for and he died for your freedom. Noah proudly served his country in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The oldest of 10 siblings and the first grandson on both sides of the family, Noah always wanted to be a Marine.
"Noah was such a happy man and he loved to laugh. He greatly anticipated coming home from Afghanistan to marry his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Black. His laughter and love of life will be sorely missed.
"Noah will be escorted home to Charlotte by family member (gunnery sergeant) Michael L. Kiernan, U.S.M.C.
"Noah will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Charlotte services are pending.
"We truly appreciate the outpouring of support from our friends and neighbors in the Charlotte-area.
"Lance Cpl. Noah Miles Pier, our hero."
Lance Corporal. Noah Pier, 25, died last week in Afghanistan. When his body arrived in Charlotte, a parade of Patriot Guard Riders escorted him and his family from the airport to the funeral home.
“Our main mission is to honor fallen soldiers, our heroes, who are fighting for freedom, and because of them we all enjoy the freedom we have,” said mission ride captain Keith Arbuckle. “Whenever we get the call and whenever the family invites us in, then we go to render our honor.”
The Patriot Guard is a volunteer organization that assists families during funerals to show respect and honor, and to make sure war protestors don't disturb services. They embarked on a three-day mission for Pier.
Since 2006, the group has grown by more than 180,000 members. The Patriot Guard Riders cover every state and several other countries.
“We lost our youngest son (in) April 2007 in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb,” said Gene Delozier, a Patriot Guard Rider, who joined based on how the group supported his family during the funeral for his son, Brian.
“Unfortunately, I've been on a few missions already. It's sad to lose somebody but it's an honor to be able to stand up and give back to these young people that are standing up for us.”
Pier will be laid to rest March 15 in Arlington National Cemetery. The Patriot Guard will escort the casket to the airport in Charlotte and another chapter will be present at the funeral.
Donations will be accepted in Noah's memory to The Luke Pier Foundation, a nonprofit committed to providing funding for life-saving scientific research focused on, but not limited to, connective tissue disorders.
The Luke Pier Foundation
Since he was a boy, Noah Pier was a Marine.
He'd dress in fatigues, and play war in the backyard. He'd set up obstacles and run his five younger brothers through it - Noah was the drill sergeant, his brothers the grunts.
His family moved to Charlotte in 1995 from Northern Virginia when Noah was 10. He was home-schooled and after earning a high school diploma, he was free to join up immediately.
"But he worked a few years and took courses at" Central Piedmont Community College, his mother, Vikki Pier, said Sunday. "He wanted to make sure he went in (to the Marines) for the right reasons."
Last week, on foot patrol, the 25-year-old lance corporal was killed in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand.
Early today, Pier's body will be flown home. A visitation is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. today at McEwen Funeral Home, 10500 Park Road. A memorial service will be 1 p.m. Tuesday at Forest Hill Church, 7224 Park Road. In March, Pier will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.
His death came as news reports surfaced on the growing dangers faced by Pier's Hawaii-based regiment (he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division) in parts of Helmand, where roadside bombs are stronger and harder to detect, and they're everywhere. It is a region where support for the Taliban is strong.
Pier had served one tour in Iraq and had been in Afghanistan since November. His comrades in Bravo Company called him "big brother," partly because he was older, but also because he set the standard as a Marine, his commander told his parents.
Pier's body will be flown to Wilson Air Center near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. It will be given a motorcycle escort to McEwen by N.C. members of the Patriot Guard Riders. They'll set up a "flag line" with American flags at the funeral home and at Forest Hill.
"We stand in honor of those who've given the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom," said Keith Arbuckle of Concord, a Vietnam veteran and the guard's assistant North Carolina Captain. "They are due that respect."
Pier was scheduled to return to Hawaii in June. He was engaged; a summer wedding had been set.
Early on, he'd contemplated making the Marines a career. But in recent months, he was considering other options, his father, Mark, said.
"He was talking about going back to school," Mark Pier said. "But he believed in what he was fighting for. He was fighting for our freedom and he believed in that."
PIER, NOAH M
Posted: 23 February 2010 Updated: 17 April 2010 Updated: 2 June 2010 Updated: 18 April 2012
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, May 2010
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, April 2010