camp pendleton

Marines Gather at Camp Pendleton to Remember Their Fallen Brothers

Every year members of the Alpha Company Raiders 1st Battalion Marines hike Microwave Hill at Camp Horno, part of Camp Pendleton to honor the lives of two of their platoon members who died in the Battle of Najaf during their deployment to Iraq in 2004.

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Many members of the Alpha Company Raiders 1st Battalion Marines haven't seen each other in years.

But, every August they make an effort to gather as many members of their original platoon as possible to hike Microwave Hill at Camp Horno to remember the lives of two of their fellow Marines who died during their deployment to Iraq in 2004.

Simon Sandoval was the platoon sergeant and remembers the Battle of Najaf where he says Ivan Krimker, the corpsman of the platoon saved his life.

"We got hit, an RPG round knocked me to the ground, I had shrapnel in my back and then Doc [Krimker] went out to the middle of the road right when the fire fight was going on and rounds were going over my head and covered my body with his own body," Sandoval remembers.

This year, Krimker was awarded a Purple Heart for his actions back in 2004.

"I personally have a take where I think I did what I was asked to do. I don't own Iraq, I don't own Afghanistan, it could have been any country I don't care I did my job and that's what matters," Krimker says.

Some of their fellow platoon members weren't so lucky. Alexander Arredondo and Nicholas Skinner both lost their lives during the battle. They do the hike every year in their honor.

"These guys were the best of all of us. They were the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, so this is just our small little contribution to them that says that they're not forgotten," said Jason Williams.

This year Annette Redman came to California and saw her fellow Marines after 17 years.

"That saying blood is thicker than water, it's not a lie. It is not a lie, the blood on the battlefield is definitely thicker than water and these guys are like brothers to me," she said.

There are 28 survivors from their original platoon. This year, 8 of them made the hike. They say they are going to continue this tradition every August for as long as they can. More than a dozen of the members of the original platoon, including the two who were killed in action, have received the Purple Heart, one of the highest honors in the United States military.

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