Battle Rattle

The crosses are back: after wildfire, 100 Marines restore Pendleton memorials

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Edit: Updates to correct caption credits

Last week, we wrote about one Marine’s valiant mission to save a beloved Camp Pendleton memorial site from the wildfires that were burning through the base.

Cpl. Marvin Arnold of Mike company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines organized a team of seven Marines for a trek up First Sergeant’s Hill at Camp San Mateo within the base, rescuing the nearly two dozen wooden memorial crosses just before the fires burned over the hill. The crosses are each specially marked and decorated to remember a fallen Pendleton Marine, frequently carried to the site and installed by a close Marine friend or comrade.

This week, Arnold tells us the crosses are back, reinstalled May 23 by more than 100 Marine volunteers from Camp Pendleton’s 5th Marine Regiment. The volunteers were organized through the Sangin Valley Gun Club Facebook page, whose moderators also catalogued the event and gave updates.

The images from the event, showing Marines climbing the steep summit with the crosses on their backs, are poignant.


Image courtesy Shane Eckberg



Image by “Mack”/Sangin Valley Gun Club Facebook page


Image courtesy Shane Eckberg


Image by “Mack”/Sangin Valley Gun Club Facebook page



Image by “Mack”/Sangin Valley Gun Club Facebook page

Image courtesy Shane Eckberg

Image courtesy Shane Eckberg


  1. PATRIZIA Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 7:22 pm


  2. Granny Ingle Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I am so proud of these Marines. My grandson is a 12 yr. Marine also and presently stationed at Miramar. I would love to give a big granny hug to each one but since I cant, I want each one to make believe that I have hugged them and planted a granny kiss on their cheek. Love from Granny Ingle

  3. Gerardo Banda Sr Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    My 2 Sons are Devil Dogs Gunny GBanda cherry point, SSGT Jimi Banda Sr..Japan Bats of iwurkuni … Marines are the Best Men .. Good Job Devils..continue to remember your Brothers..

  4. Nicholas Chappell Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    You forgot to mention the Gold Star families that showed up to witness how we honor our fallen in our own way. The fb group Sangin Valley Gun Club has pictures of them helping and watching.

  5. Paul Smith Says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    This shows that not only are the Marines the best fighting force in the world, they are also the best people. Thank you for Taking care of those memorials.

    Semper Fi

  6. Valerie Star Trammell Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 1:47 am


  7. Emily Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Thank you from a Marine mom

  8. Diane Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 5:01 am

    God Bless these AWESOME Marines for putting back the Memorial of the ones that were lost but never forgotten. These are very beautiful pictures and they tell a story within their selves. God Bless All of them. Diane

  9. Carmen U Robles Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 5:11 am

    A wonderful story. I admire everyone involved that help bring the crosses back.

  10. Reggie Earley Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 7:56 am

    The fire picked the wrong place to Attack, our Motto is We Lead You Follow,the rest get out of our way,The true meaning of Semper Fidelis..Always Faithful..Stand Tall Marines…oooooorrrrrrrraaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

  11. Lacy R Bethea Jr Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I am proud to be a member of the Corps. Though there is mention of the “Old Corps” and the “new Corps”, there is but one Corps, the Marine Corps… When a group of Marines get together, there is a Reunion, regardless of the outfit you were in… Semper Fi, my young Brothers, carry on where I left off.
    Lacy R Bethea Jr, GySgt USMC Ret

  12. Julie Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Thank you Marines from a Marine Mom.

  13. Bambi Lawson Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    What a fantastic tribute to our Marines and all they do. This is wonderful and I am so grateful for our Marines. Looking forward to seeing this in July while we visit our son who is stationed in Camp Pendleton.
    Thank you Marines and God Bless you all.
    Proud and Honored Marine Mom

  14. Russell L. Smith USMCVetRVN Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Job well done bro’s Semper Fi.

  15. Angel Goyco Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Cpl Goyco Angel A

    2nd Bn th Marines G co. 3rd Herd 1990–1992
    5th Marines

    It doesnt surprise me at all, we take care of our own.
    Always have, Always will.

    Semper Fi

    May 28th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    08-24-1950 01-14-1995
    Roger was a fine man, husband, father, and
    MARINE. He was stationed there at San Mateo 5th Marines from 89-94 where he retired. I WAS STATIONED AT NAVAL DENTAL CENTER. Both of our sons were born there at Pendleton. He would be so PROUD OF EACH OF YOU (His Marines)! He did 1000 sit ups with a young Pfc on the day before he retired. Any of you know who that was or know Roger? He told me that
    “When you can’t carry your pack, it’s time to go”. He was only 44 yrs old when he died.
    I never knew about the crosses. Is it possible to honor him now with a cross?

    Thank you all for your service. SEMPER FI
    Laura B. Makolandra Corn

    His picture was on the Front Page of the NAVY TIMES on the first day on the Ground War DESERT STORM. I’d like to be able to get copies of that. I’d appreciate info.

  17. Woody Williams L/Cpl Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    ​I served with Kilo “3/5″ 1st Marine Division in Vietnam! Am Proud to see that they are still the same Elite & Honorable unit!! ​——– **Semper Fi** —–

  18. Marv Paularena Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you. God bless you. Semper Fi

  19. Janine Gould Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you from a Marine mom. My son, daughter and son-in-law are all Marines. Semper Fi

  20. Bill McKinley Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    For those who lifted and carried your great honor of labor, did so with others walking along side, strength throughout. There were hundreds of others, that would have been there, but prayed for you and others. There was also another group of Marines in attendence, that you were not able to see, but took part and marched up the hills with you. ” Remember who you are and where you were”. To the Corp.

  21. R. Azotea Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Awesome job Wardogs! Thank you.
    Semper Fi,

  22. Brandon Whelan Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    To whom it may concern,

    My name, “Brandon Whelan” was listed as a source to a quote in regards to the 3/5 crosses being reestablished on the hill in Pendleton. I was there but was not quoted saying any of that which is listed in the blog.

    If you could please remove my name completely from being affiliated with that quote I would greatly appreciate it.

    Sgt Brandon Whelan

  23. Kyle Says:
    May 28th, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Glad I could be there, ‘Rah!

  24. Barbara Allen Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 6:40 am

    God bless these Marines for they are truly the most Amazing people on this planet ! My heart was filled with Pride reading this… I salute & Thank them all for what they do for us each and everyday without question !!! I love them all from the bottom of my heart ! I want them to know how much they are Honored , appreciated & loved !!!! Oohrah !!!!!! Semper Fi Marines xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoo

  25. Fred Louese Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Great pictures. How long until the ACLU chimes in and demands they be removed? There is probably some atheist out there just waiting to pounce.

  26. Eldon Scott Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 7:34 am

    I remember another person who carried a cross. It was his own. He was Jesus Christ.

  27. Roy Benson Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Bravo Zulu Marines. This Ex-Sailor is proud of his Marine Brothers.

  28. Bob Chester Says:
    May 29th, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Semper Fi Gyrene’s

  29. Widowmaker Says:
    May 30th, 2014 at 12:42 pm


  30. Susan Jacobson Says:
    May 30th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    May God bless you for generosity, love of your fellow man, country and God. Your self-sacrifice is inspiring. Thank You

  31. Tommy Gunn Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Fuck yeah boots getting hazed, I don’t see a corpsman, who’s the senior man here?

  32. Syd Doyle Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Ooooo rah Semper Fi
    From a British Veteran- well done Marines !

  33. Peggy Hansford Says:
    May 31st, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    I’m so pumped that you guys did this! The devil is already defeated! You all are blessed and highly favored in Jesus name for doing this! One nation under God! Go guys go! Jesus hung out for you, way to hang out with Him!