U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 513-07
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
First Lieutenant Travis L. Manion, 26, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, died April 29, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Manion was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.
Many believe that leadership is an innate quality rather than something learned. If this is a valid belief then First Lieutenant Travis L. Manion was certainly born a leader. Manion began his military career early as a student at the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy where he excelled academically.
Upon graduating from the academy in 2004, Manion chose to become a Marine Corps officer. Demonstrating his intellect and leadership abilities, this servicemember was commissioned and assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force Camp in Pendleton, California. Shortly thereafter, he was deployed to Iraq for his first tour of duty in 2005.
Manion and his unit were part of many critical events including support of the election, discovery of weapons caches throughout the region and numerous other Iraqi transition missions.
In September 2006, he was selected as an experienced Iraq veteran and was pulled from 1st Recon to become a part of a military transition team that would train with 10 other Marines that would be attached to an Iraqi Army Battalion in Fallujah.
Staying true to his commitment to public service, Manion geared up on December 26, 2006, for his second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as the company advisor for the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team, Regimental Combat Team 6, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Manion and his fellow Marines labored diligently to change the outcome in Fallujah, building a brotherhood with the Iraqi Army units and setting the example with strong leadership.
He and his fellow Marines aggressively took the battle to the enemy on multiple missions while mentoring their Iraqi counterparts. On March 19, 2007, his vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device. Though disoriented from the attack, Manion checked for secondary devices, and then led the pursuit to the triggerman. Once identified, he personally apprehended the suspect. On March 27, 2007, he exposed himself to enemy small arms fire on multiple occasions in order to physically position and direct the return fires of his Iraqi soldiers during a complex enemy attack. On March 28, he immediately responded to a suicide vehicle-borne IED attack on the Iraqi Barracks at the Fallujah Government Center. Despite ongoing enemy small arms fire, indirect fire, two suicide vest attacks, a second suicide-vehicle-borne IED, and the heavy presence of chlorine gas, he repeatedly endangered himself by entering the damage barracks to remove casualties, and then by positioning and directing the fires of Iraqi soldiers on the rooftop of the Government Center.
Manion and his fellow Marines fought courageously to change the tide in this critical battle ground. As a result of their efforts, Al Anbar Province is now recognized as one of the more significant successes of the surge in Iraq.
On April 29, 2007 during his final patrol mission, Manion made the ultimate sacrifice.
His patrol was concluding a search of a suspected insurgent house when it came under precision small arms fire attack. With the corpsman seriously wounded by enemy fire and the attack developing in to a full-scale ambush, Manion and a fellow Marine exposed themselves to increasing fire to pull the corpsman out of the kill zone.
After recovering the corpsman and administering first aid, Manion led his patrol in a counter attack personally eliminating an enemy position. As he continued to direct the patrol, another Marine was wounded. He again moved across the kill zone, under fire by five insurgents, to recover the wounded Marine. Iraqi Army reinforcements were halted by an IED and were unable to advance on the flank of the insurgents, leaving Manion and his patrol to take fire from three sides.
While fearlessly exposing himself to gain a more advantageous firing position and drawing enemy fire away from the wounded Marines, Manion was fatally wounded by an enemy sniper.
His courageous and deliberate actions inspired the eventual counter attack and ultimately saved the lives of every member of his patrol, according to his medal citation.
“He wouldn’t put anyone in a situation he would not be in himself first,” said David Borek, his brother-in-law and close friend.
Manion was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and the Silver Star for his heroic actions in Iraq.
As a true testament to how much Manion was admired, the Iraqis named their new headquarters Combat Outpost Manion in honor of him.
Keeping the spirit of his selfless nature alive, The Travis Manion Foundation was created and continues his mission to assist the families of Fallen Heroes and wounded veterans, according to Janet Manion, his mother and executive director of the foundation.
“He was a kid with a big heart, never had a bad word for anyone,” said Tom Manion, his father. “He was all heart; that is who he was.”
Travis Manion and Brendan Looney spent four years together at the Naval Academy learning to be sailors and officers and, by the time they graduated in 2004, had become the best of friends.
Now they will be reunited side by side in Arlington National Cemetery.
Manion, a Bucks County native and first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, was killed in Iraq in 2007. On September 21, 2010, Lieutenant Looney, a Navy SEAL and Manion's Naval Academy roommate for three years, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that also took the lives of eight other Americans.
Shortly after Manion's death in 2007, his family laid him to rest at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Montgomery County, a 30-minute drive from the family's Doylestown Township home. Not long after that, they learned from his friends that Travis had expressed a desire to be buried in Arlington, said his father, Tom Manion.
Manion's family was planning to have his remains moved to Arlington, but it was not easy to do, his father said. When they learned last week of Looney's death, and that he had told his wife if he were killed he would like to be buried at Arlington with Travis, they set the wheels in motion.
Cemetery officials told the family they don't save spaces, so if they wanted Travis to be buried next to his close friend, they'd need to move quickly, Manion said.
“It just seemed like if we were going to move him down there, moving him to be right next to his roommate would be a good thing,” Manion said. “It is hard to think about a good thing at a time like this, losing someone like Brendan. It just seemed like it made sense to make it happen.”
The two men, both good students, strong athletes and born leaders, shared a love of family and great sense of humor that created a strong bond, Manion said. He said Looney's wife, Amy, told him that before his death, her husband had said he kept three things with him at all times while fighting in Afghanistan: his watch, their wedding ring and a bracelet honoring his fallen friend Travis.
“They used to call themselves brothers from a different mother,” Manion said. “Anytime they were together they were always having a good time … and a lot of laughs and were a lot of fun being around. That is my lasting memory of the two of them when they got together.”
Looney, a star lacrosse player from Owings, Maryland, was killed during a special operation in southern Afghanistan's Zabol province. He was 29. Manion, 26, was killed on April 29, 2007, by a sniper in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Over the years, the two men's friendship brought their families together, Manion said. When Looney's parents went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to retrieve their son's body, they asked the Manions to accompany them.
Manion will be buried in Arlington on Friday. Looney will be buried next to him three days later.
“If you are going to be laid to rest, I know he wanted to be in Arlington,” said Manion, who has said his son's service inspired him to run for Congress in 2008. “And to be next to Brendan, his brother-in-arms and his great friend.…I can't help but think that if this had to happen, he has to be sort of happy that he is beside his buddy Brendan.”
The Looneys have asked mourners to make donations to the Travis Manion Foundation, which assists severely wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, in lieu of sending flowers, said foundation spokesman.
1LT US MARINE CORPS
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/19/1980
DATE OF DEATH: 04/29/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9179
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard