Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert II
Died March 16, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
28, of Richfield, Ohio; assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died March 16 of wounds sustained March 8 while supporting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan.
(The following is taken from blog.cleveland.com of Mar. 28, 2010) BATH TOWNSHIP - It was only fitting that the funeral service for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert II be held in the Revere High School gymnasium, where painted words above the bleachers proclaim it "Home of the Minutemen."
Like the always-at-the-ready fighters from the Revolutionary War, Gilbert was a willing warrior. Five times he answered the call to duty overseas.
Gilbert gave his life during his last tour.
He fell March 8, mortally wounded while exchanging gunfire on a bare hilltop in Badghis province, Afghanistan. For that and previous acts of bravery, Gilbert, 28, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star during the Sunday morning service in Summit County.
Gilbert died on his birthday, March 16, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre, commander of special operations for the Marines, presented the medal to Gilbert's father, Bob Gilbert. The moment brought the nearly 1,000 people gathered in the Revere gym to their feet for a standing ovation.
Gilbert excelled working with foreign soldiers under intense conditions, Lefebvre said after the ceremony.
"He was a training expert," Lefebvre said, "and brave as could be."
On the day he was mortally wounded, Gilbert volunteered to watch over the rest of his patrol from a bare hilltop overlooking a small village, according to the citation.
As the enemy neared, an intense firefight broke out. Gilbert returned fire with his rifle and grenade launcher "while continually exposing himself to enemy fire in order to effectively direct the actions of the Afghan National Army soldiers he was fighting alongside," the citation states.
Besides being a hero, Gilbert was remembered as a loving son and brother. A picture of Gilbert's arm draped across his father's shoulders was enlarged and placed beside the flag-draped coffin, which was positioned beneath a raised basketball hoop at one end of the gymnasium.
Glen Ross, who served with Gilbert, recalled his playful side. He told a story about the time he and Gilbert went out to a bar and how his eyes kept burning all night. Ross later learned that Gilbert had sprayed his clothes with mace so nobody would talk to him.
Steve Korn, a Christian minister married to a cousin of Gilbert's, remembers a 9-year-old Gilbert looking lost at his mother's wake. Korn worried the loss might derail Gilbert as he grew older, but nothing could have been further from the truth.
"He found such incredible purpose," Korn said.
Korn added that the love Gilbert showed to others -- and not just those close to him -- seemed to him like the love of God.
"He laid down his life for people in other countries who at times probably didn't like him that much," Korn said.