Two tragedies occurring almost a year apart remind us of military training and the risks our servicemen and women face every day.
For those of us who live in the Lahontan Valley, the training conducted by Navy pilots is crucial to the country’s national defense, but when an aviator dies as a result of the training, this community comes together to support both the family and friends of the airman.
Although Marine Capt. Reid Nannen, who was a student at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, spent very little time in Fallon, his untimely death, nevertheless, has affected many of us and reminds this community of great sacrifices.
As reported in the Lahontan Valley News last week, Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said losing a military member whether that person is training here or assigned to the air station is difficult for the community because of our mix of active duty and retired veterans who call this area home.
“To lose a member is very sad when talking about a young person getting started in the military,” Tedford added. “Our heart goes out to the family, his unit and the air station as they work through this.”
The 32-year-old Nannen was young, a 10-year veteran, a devoted husband and father of four children. Tedford said the Fallon community is always willing and able to help when called to assist.
Likewise, another tragic anniversary nears, one that involved seven young Marines.
March 18 will be a day etched with so many people from the residents of Hawthorne to the friends and family members of the Marines who were killed in a live-fire training exercise on the Hawthorne Army Depot grounds.
Marines paid tribute to their fallen comrades in a memorial service at Camp Lejeune, N.C., a year ago and are expected to do the same this month. Hawthorne is also planning a memorial service next week to remember the Marines, some of who had fought in Afghanistan.
Tragedies involving Capt. Nannen this month and the seven Marines a year ago bring together both the civilian and military communities — no matter how many miles separate them. Although the seven Marines who died on that March night did not grow up or live in Silver State, Nevadans, nevertheless, felt the pain and mourned alongside their brethren in paying their final respects just like the Fallon community will do this week to remember Capt. Nannen.
The Marines memorialized in Hawthorne next week are Pfc. Joshua M. Martino; Lance Corporals David P. Fenn II, Roger W. Muchnick Jr., Joshua C. Taylor, Mason J. Vanderwork, William T. Wild IV and Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda.
An impromptu inscription was added to a memorial near Range 500 last year and revealed by the company commander:
“A memorial built from rocks, knives, scrap metal stakes, and rank insignia. It reads: ‘Brother, you may be gone but you will live through us.’ Amidst the tragedy and sadness of losing these fine young men, this is a time for continuing actions and resiliency.”
We must always remember Capt. Nannen and the seven Marines who bravely gave their lives to their country.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.