Police Transition Team 4 bids farewell to fallen comrade.

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Police Transition Team 4 bids farewell to fallen comrade

Cpl. Meg Murray

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION UBAYDI, Iraq – Service members traveled from bases across Al Anbar province to join Marines and sailors of Police Transition Team 4 at a memorial service aboard Contingency Operating Location Ubaydi as they paid their respects to their fallen comrade, Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Lara, July 24, 2009.

The 20-year-old gunner was killed July 19 when his convoy was attacked by insurgents.

Even after being mortally wounded, Lara removed his M9 service pistol from its holster and fired back at the enemy.

“He loved the Marine Corps, but most of all, he loved being an infantry Marine,” said Cpl. Anthony Reaves, a fellow PTT-4 member and Lara’s close friend. “As Marines, we go down fighting, and that’s exactly what he did.”

Lara joined the Marine Corps in December 2006, and after completing training at the School of Infantry, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, in Twentynine Palms, Calif. From February to October 2008, he deployed to Iraq with his battalion, where he served as a squad automatic weapon gunner.

Immediately upon return, Lara volunteered to deploy again, this time with PTT-4. From February to July 2009, he served as the gunner for PTT-4’s third vehicle.

“In the first five seconds of meeting Lance Cpl. Lara, you could tell two things,” said Capt. Aron Axe, the PTT-4 officer-in-charge. “He was a Marine, and he was from Texas.”

Axe said that even though Lara was the most junior infantryman on his team of six, it didn’t mean he was the least capable.

“He stood up to every challenge we gave him,” Axe recalled. “He would spend seven, eight, even nine hours a day up in the turret, just to make sure his team was safe.”

Lara’s peers viewed him as a determined leader and beloved friend.

“Lance Cpl. Lara always accomplished what he set his mind to do,” said Sgt. Higinio Reyes, reflecting on the time he had spent with Lara. “He was always doing everything he could possibly do to better himself as a U.S. Marine.”

“It’s going to be hard not having you here brother, but I know you’re in a better place. We’ll miss you. Semper fi Lara, semper fi.”