Marine Cpl. Donald M. Marler
Died June 06, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
22, of St. Louis; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 6 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Also killed were Sgt. Brandon C. Bury and Lance Cpl. Derek Hernandez.
(The following was taken from www.stltoday.com of June 15, 2010) ST. LOUIS COUNTY — The Oakville Senior High School gym in south St. Louis County barely accommodated a long line of mourners gathered Monday evening to honor the memory of U.S. Marine Cpl. Donald M. Marler.
Cpl. Marler, 22, was killed in a crash in Afghanistan on June 6. In a statement, Cpl. Marler's family called him a "captivating, charismatic young man who knew no strangers."
Cpl. Marler, a 2006 graduate of Oakville, skipped commencement to join the Marines, and left for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego the day after prom, his family said.
Before requesting a combat assignment in Afghanistan, Cpl. Marler protected two presidents while on the security detail at Camp David, the presidential retreat in rural Maryland.
Monday's visitation featured photos of a serious-looking Cpl. Marler with President Barack Obama and with then-President George W. Bush. The family's statement said that Cpl. Marler "was honored to have served for both presidents" and called home to tell of playing basketball with Obama.
Photographs and a slide show also showed a smiling Cpl. Marler with relatives and friends.
At the visitation Monday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon shared an embrace with Cpl. Marler's parents, David Marler Sr. and Susan Marler, and spoke with family.
Nixon brought a Missouri flag that had flown over the Capitol on the day Cpl. Marler's remains were returned home and a framed copy of the proclamation ordering U.S. and Missouri flags across the state to be flown at half-staff for Cpl. Marler's funeral today, a Nixon spokesman said. Flags on state buildings in St. Louis County will be flown at half-staff from Wednesday through Monday, the governor's office said.
Cpl. Marler and two fellow Marines died in the one-vehicle accident in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Their armored vehicle flipped and landed in a canal, and the three were trapped inside and drowned, according to friends and media reports.
Cpl. Marler, a rifleman who had been awarded a number of commendations and medals, arrived in Afghanistan in April.