Death comes to all. But great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
New Year’s Eve is a time of both reflection and renewal, a time where a giddy sense of opportunity and hope seep into even the most hardened heart. But there was no joy in Killer Company this New Years Eve… because on New Years Eve we lost a cherished brother. CPL Marcelino “Ronnie” Corniel was a warrior prince. He cut his teeth in the United States Marine Corps, then after a short return to the civilian world he joined the ‘Hard Guard” as he affectionately called it. Shortly after his enlistment he was once again on point for his country.
The last few weeks have grown increasingly cold – or at least it feels that way to our desert acclimated bodies. But today was different… today the winter sun flared down on our battered hearts and brought some small measure of comfort to our grieving ranks. Under this warm and welcome sky the Battalion gathered for the memorial service. The ceremony took place on a barren patch of concrete… one that our Soldiers have become far too familiar with. To an outsider this desolate slab would hardly merit a second glance. But to us it is a sanctum, a place around which grim soldiers gather to form a living cathedral.
CPL Marcelino Ronald Corniel, or “Ronnie”
to his friends and family, was killed in a mortar attack on his observation
post on 31 December ending is life at the young age of 23. CPL Corniel was a son to xxxxx, older brother
to three sisters, and engaged to marry his fiancé xxx. He called La Puente, California his home. CPL Corniel’s strong desire to
serve is country drove him to enlist, first in the Marine Corps, and then in
the Inactive Ready Reserve. He joined
The next speaker was CPT A, the Commander of Cyclone Company, and he offered the following words.
He could make people laugh with his
stories. Marine stories are always
humorous to Army guys. He would say that Army Special Forces were just
glorified Marines. One story stands out
to SPC Truck. CPL Corniel’s fiance
was watching the news about Iraq and asked him why the doctors were mad at the soldiers… CPL Corniel explained
to her – not surgeons… insurgents. Just
ask SPC Truck for details. He could just
make people laugh.
I have worked with 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1-184 IN since August. They lost the first soldier in the Battalion and it seems like they are closing the same way. My hat is off to you guys. I will fight with you at my side anytime, anywhere. Guys like SGT Henna, SPC German, and SSG Kin… the guys who were hurt with CPL Corniel, the Department of the Navy squad. All of Green, as we called you! All of you are part of the Cyclone family.
Cyclones – Tear it up! Hard Guard!
SPC G had the privilege of serving side by side with CPL Corniel, and they were bound together by friendship and their shared memories of the Marine Corps. He remembered his friend with these words.
Our Chaplain, MAJ B, was the last to speak. His meditation was a salve to our grieving hearts, and reminded us all that the best tribute to CPL Corniel would be to follow his brilliant example. His tribute follows…
“A few days and we all go home. If we can just make it the net few we will be on our way.” That was our cry as we prepared to demobilize. CPL Ronald Corniel was not given those few days. He just had the moment, but he lived those moments fully. Today’s tribute to CPL Ronald Corniel is most fitting and proper. He served the United States Marines, the Army, and hs country well and we pay our deep respect to him and offer our sympathes to his family.
He had been a Marine and loved it. He did his time. But he wanted to give more. He chose to join the Army during a time of war. He chose the Guard to serve with brothers and friends he knew. He wanted to do something significant; he wanted to make a difference. He had already done his part, he served his country honorably, he could have stayed home but he came back. This is the type of man we remember.
Our Lord has given us a legacy of hope for
the future when he said, “ I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me though he were dead,
yet shall live. And he that lives and
believes in me shall never die.” Let us
not fear death, but face it; let us not cower before the future but walk boldly
Then too, let us go on to take advantage of today’s responsibilities and opportunities. Let us live each day well – one at a time. Sine we have only one life to live, we should give it our best. Each of us needs a cause and a purpose that is bigger then ourselves to which we can dedicate our lives. CPL Corniel did not live in the past, he did not rest on a past career, he looked forward to what he could offer in the present because he did not let fear of the future hold him back. He came to a dangerous place and live gallantly. He wanted to live vibrantly, now. Let us not regret the past or fear the future so we can get on with the business of living in the present. May we learn to seize the opportunities at hand and thank God for every day we are given. Let us begin with the first day we have, today!
CPL Corniel was as close to perfect as this world allows. He will be missed. Rest in Peace brother.