Marine honored at ceremony at Camp Lejeune
from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines - the 29 - returned from a
recent tour in Afghanistan and were gathered at Camp Lejeune,
North Carolina, for a memorial service to remember their fallen
brothers - 15 in all.
Corporal John C. Bishop, 25, Versailles, was among those being
honored for their bravery, valor and honor. He died September
8, 2010 by sniper fire while in operations where the Taliban still
had a stronghold. He was laid to rest beside his father, Gene
Bishop, in the Cliff Hill Cemetery in Versailles.
The following scripture found in Ecclesiastes 3 was reflective
of the events that took place February 27, 28 at the 165,000 acre
To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose
under the heaven. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time
to mourn and a time to dance...a time of war and a time of peace.
A formal dinner was held Sunday evening, February 27 for family
members of the fallen Marines as they gathered at Camp Lejeune.
The family of Cpl. Bishop made an impressive showing with a large
number attending the events.
Family members attending included Cpl. Bishops brothers:
Bill of Milan; Mike and wife, Peggy, of Versailles; Jamey and
wife, Tammy and children of Virginia; Tyson of Indianapolis and
Eric and wife, Missy and son from Seymour. Also traveling to North
Carolina for the service were sisters, Nancy Braley of Pennsylvania
and Amy and husband, Ryan, and family of Osgood.
Sarah Thomas, Cpl. Bishops mother, along with cousins from
Columbus, gathered to meet with the fallen Marines wife,
Marine Crystal Bishop and daughter, Ella-Monica Grace, who was
born a few weeks after her fathers death. Cpl. Bishops
son, K-Sean, 5, was also united with his family.
As family members came together with Marine brothers who were
with their loved one to the very end, a weekend of tears and joy
was experienced as stories of war and now peace were heard.
Some of the Marines who met with the family included, Cpl. Ben
Long, Cpl. Joseph Musulin, Cpl. John Gabbard; and Cpl. Joshua
Fields -who ran out to their squad leader when he was shot. He
didnt even think of his own safety, noted brother,
Tyson. He told how he dragged Cpl. Bishop to safety, but it was
too late. The snipers bullet had made its impact, killing
the Marine instantly.
As a video was shared, it was a time for the Marines to see how
the communities of North Vernon, Butlerville, Nebraska, Holton,
and Versailles and beyond, responded to the death of a home-town
hero. Cpl. Musulin noted he couldnt believe how many people
turned out, what a massive crowd walked behind the horse-drawn
caisson to take his Marine brother to his final resting place.
They were all impressed with the procession from the airport hanger
in North Vernon to Versailles - each knowing the grim reality
was it could have been them.
Pictures shared from the Marines and in turn the Bishop family,
brought them closer together as the pieces of the puzzle were
finalized. The Bishop family would find out what a warrior their
loved one truly was. The place where Cpl. Bishop died was named
in his honor and a memorial was erected to the courageous Marine
on foreign soil.
When photo coverage of the medi-vac helicopter carrying the body
of Cpl. Bishop was shown, you could hear a soft gasp from his
mother, then silence fell on the room like a thick cloud enveloping
Stories of the blistering heat and bitter cold with the Marines
having no protection from either, were heard as they explained
where they lived, and ultimately where their leader died just
100 meters from a building they had surrounded.
Family members of Cpl. Bishop said it was healing to meet with
the Marines and learn the particulars about their loved ones
death, even though it was painful. It meant the world to
us, brother, Mike Bishop told The Versailles Republican.
These guys are great, he said with tears in his eyes.
The Memorial Service
A memorial service was held Monday, February 28 with hundreds
attending the event held at the Goettge Field House, Camp Lejeune.
A beautiful prelude of favorite hymns preceded the ceremony where
the Bishop family would learn what Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood
Jr., Cpl. Bishops commanding officer, thought of their loved
He had true character. He had a knack for inspiring and
leading men who did not typically like to follow. He loved to
teach and pass on this knowledge of machine gunnery and wasnt
afraid to sacrifice for those around him. We loved him for his
iron backbone and for how much he loved his family and brothers.
Those words were comforting to the family as they sat among 14
other families who were feeling the same loss.
The Marines Prayer was recited at the end of the service,
which read in part, Give me the will to do the work of a
Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and
Cpl. Bishop accepted his responsibility and paid the ultimate
sacrifice. As Taps were played, his wife Crystal, who is still
an active duty Marine, (ammunition technician) stood at attention
as tears ran down her face. The true sacrifice of war has hit
her family hard, taking her husband and father of her daughter.
These are not statistics. They are sons, husbands, fathers,
brothers, Lt. Col. Fullwood said. To the families he said,
Your love made them great men...you molded their character.
The service ended with families interacting with Marines - each
saying goodbye in their own way. Large portraits of the 15 fallen
men were displayed across the auditorium.
Jerry Burnett of Holton, attended the ceremony wearing a vest
identifying him as a member of the Indiana Patriot Guard. A young
Marine walked up to him and thanked him for his service. The gesture
was not lost on those around them when both men were in tears
as Burnett told the Marine he was thankful for his service and
his familys sacrifice.
The Patriot Guard is a organization whose members stand with the
families of the fallen to show respect. They do sometimes serve
as a shield from groups who would protest at military funerals.
They are simply a group who has come together across the country
to say, We support our military.
Lt. Col. Fullwood said a man dies first when his body expires,
and second when his name is no longer spoken.
Cpl. Bishop, who was proud to serve as a squad leader in the machine
gunner division, will no longer be coming home at a certain time.
He now lives in the hearts of those who love him and continue
to speak his name.
Those serving in the 2nd Battlion 9th Marines went home on March
1 for a 30-day leave. Cpl. Bishop was deployed to his home in
Heaven September 8, 2010.
The fallen Marines mother said she was thankful for the
time spent with her sons children, and the Marines. It gave
her insight to how her youngest son was in battle. I just
dont want to go home, she noted Monday evening as
the day was winding down. I feel as though I still have
him when Im with them (the Marines who were with her
son when he died), she noted.
Promises to never forget their fallen brother, the Marines and
families have pledged to get together with the Bishop family soon,
perhaps in September when an event is being planned to raise money
for fallen Marines families in Cpl. Bishops name.
He would want us do to this, his mother concluded.
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Pictured above Sarah Thomas, right, holds
her granddaughter, Ella-Monica Grace Bishop with Aunt Peggy,
Versailles, looking on. Ella-Monica brought smiles and laughter
to the grieving Bishop family as they gathered for a memorial
service for her father, Cpl. John Bishop, who was killed
in Afghanistan just weeks before her birth. Pictured below,
are two of Cpl. Bishop's brothers. Bill of Milan and Mike
of Versailles, at the ceremony that brought tears to their