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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

In Remembrance...

Yesterday, Monday, Dec. 20th, the Marines at Cherry Point, NC, had a memorial service for Corporal Kyle J. Renehan. This is the eulogy that was given by his friend, LCpl Brandon Strasler.


17 March 1983 - 09 December 2004

We are here this afternoon not to mourn the passing of a Marine, but to celebrate the life of a friend, a brother. Cpl Kyle J Renehan was both of these and much, much more. Kyle was the type of person that you always enjoyed being around. There was something about him that would always make you smile. Whether a smart quip here, or a random comment there, he would always know how to raise your spirits. I would learn all this as we began our journey…

Aside from the actual job, Kyle’s main goal here was to “go down in Cherry Point ATC history.” In the summer of 2003 our NCOIC had gotten some word that we, Lance Corporals, were finding out some things that should never have reached our ears. As expected, plans were made to “squash the Lance Corporal Underground.” Due to this, Kyle, LCpl Foster and myself obviously could not go around calling ourselves the Lance Corporal Underground, so we made a joke of it and shortened the name to the “LCU.” Now I’m only throwing this in here because the LCU wasn’t just about work. The LCU started out as kind of a joke but soon became real. We formed a bond, a brotherhood, a group of best friends that would do anything for each other. Even our ’sponsors,’ as we called them, felt this same way. Sgt Yoder, Sgt Tims, Sgt Hutto, Sgt Setzer, Sgt Spaulding and Cpl Chastain all were major influences on our lives both at work and at home. We knew that they were there for us, and they knew that we would be there for them if they ever needed anything. The LCU encompassed so many and told the story of a tight-knit community that would soon become a family. In fact, we always had a rule that we would impose on each other, thanks to Kyle. “If one goes, two go. If two go, we all go.” This was the rule that Kyle made up so we wouldn’t be separated. Whether it be one person volunteering for field day, one person told to watch out for a new Marine, or one billet, the others were there side by side offering to help. Kyle liked to take advantage of his rule every now and then when it came to helping out the younger Marines. I remember one time a new Marine had failed a barracks field day because the room he was assigned was left in horrible condition. Amongst complaining from both Foster and myself, Kyle volunteered to help this Marine field day at 2100 on a Thursday night knowing we had a day watch the next morning. That’s the type of person Kyle was. He is what made the LCU strong and he is what kept us together. He is what made LCpl Tapia, LCpl Simmons, LCpl Woodard, LCpl Stewart, LCpl Foster and myself part of the self-proclaimed “Greatest Empire in Cherry Point ATC” history.

Kyle was always looking for ‘a way’ to go down in history. He thought about it so much one time, he tried to convince Foster and myself to go in on a Golf cart that was on display in a parking lot along Highway 70. Granted the golf cart was 4x4, had a CD player with external speakers, was equipped with NOS and was pulling a giant pig roaster, but Kyle wanted to use it as a vehicle for the crew. He wanted us to pour $2,000 into a yellow golf cart with red flames on both sides, so that our crew would have something that the other crews didn‘t. He always wanted to have and be the best.

The funny thing is, Kyle isn’t going to be remembered for what he did. He isn’t going to be remember for being the youngest, most junior Marine in the facility’s history with a TRACON rating before he departed for the MEU. He isn’t going to be remembered for creating the “Victory Run” along the airfield, he isn’t going to be remembered for the Meritorious Boards he went up on, and he isn’t going to be remembered for the board he won even though his right back pocket was discovered unbuttoned although he was closely inspected by one of his best friends who also happened to be his competition. Kyle J Renehan is going to be remembered for the person he was. He is going to be remembered for the motivation, dedication, loyalty, and care that he showed everyone he encountered. He’s going to be remembered as the friend that would offer to pick you up from the airport, wait around for a couple of hours because you told him the wrong flight time, and still be there when the plane landed to greet you with a smile and comforting words. He’ll be remembered as the comrade who offers to cancel his plans for a 96 because you need someone take you down to Atlanta to get your car back after a 6 month deployment. He’ll be remembered as the guy who would wake up at all hours of the morning and go out to Burger King or Dunkin’ Donuts to make sure you had a ride on base. He will be remembered as the brother that touched so many of our lives and helped make us who we are today.

“Can someone tell me how this can happen, I guess that God only knows…” I take this quote from a song written by Edwin McCain because that’s the question and answer that continues to run through my mind each and every day. I take solace in this answer only because I know Kyle’s Christian background. He is where he has always expected to be, in heaven, watching over us all. That’s the reason for his volunteering to go fight. He enlisted in the Marine Corps to do a job and he knew the consequences of war, and he was ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice. He actually told Foster and myself that he was going to come back with a scar on his face and two more ribbons than us. He was so proud to defend this great country of ours and dedicated this chance, this opportunity to God.

Now I have attempted the impossible. I have tried my best to come up with the perfect words to describe Kyle Renehan. There simply are not enough words in the English language to describe the friendship, loyalty, and love that Kyle displayed to us all. He talked us up when we were down, he led us through some rough times, and he helped to create an undying force within each and every one of us. Kyle you will not be forgotten, for you achieved your goal. You have gone down as the greatest friend in Cherry Point ATC history!

I found a poem online last week that I would like to read submitted by an anonymous writer:

Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am a diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain

When you awake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand by my grave and cry,
I am not there--I did not die.

Although Kyle never got his promotion ceremony and he never got to wear the rank that he deserved, he will forever be remembered by me as Cpl Kyle Renehan. He always enjoyed the rank he wore, we all did, but at the same time he continued to strive for the goal he had set forth for himself. He wanted to wear those 2 stripes with that cross rifle on his collar. He wanted to show the world those chevrons on his Dress Blues. He wanted to wear the rank that so many before him had made special so many years ago. He simply wanted to excel. And excel he did, beyond anyone’s beliefs. He was always the best, but he would always be the one pointing out someone better, whether it was true or not. Although he never got to stand behind the formation and raise his hand one more time pledging his determination to “set the example for others to emulate,” those that know him also realize that he lived by that concept every day of his life.

Cpl Kyle J Renehan, an outstanding Marine, a true friend, an amazing brother. Rest in Peace, Kyle, and keep those seats warm for the rest of the LCU. We will carry on and continue to fight as I know you desire. Besides you know the rule, “one goes, two go, two go we all go.” I can’t wait to see you again and reform the LCU for all eternity. Thank you for being a part of our lives, you live on forever in our hearts. And to slightly modify one of your favorite songs, WE will be the greatest fans of your life.

We Love You,

Brandon, Fred, J, Michele, Askia, and Drew

Kyle, Josh, Mike, Scott, Jon, and Sam

"LCU Forever!!!"

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