It has been a while since I searched the names of some friends in the USMC, and here I've found this place to remember my old roommate. Secher and I were new lieutenants together at the 6-month basic officer course. I was married and living in town and assigned to his room for the many hours we spent waiting between activities in the early hours or late at night.
Unlike many officers that become officers right out of college, Secher had enlisted in the USMC at 17, served four years, and then went to college before coming back as an officer. While enlisted, he had served at the prestigious "8th and I" barracks in Washington D.C.. In addition to the normal enlisted service ribbons, he had a presidential medal on his uniform for serving with the president's security team. It was obvious: He was the best of the best. His room was always clean. His uniform was always perfect. His gear was always organized. He was fit. He listened to others. We looked up to him. He was mostly soft-spoken unless he was leading us on a run and let his command voice ring out to keep us in step.
On his shelf were photos of two great or great-great grandparents in military dress uniforms. One fought in WWI—for Germany. The other fought in the Civil War—for the South. With his wry smile he noted that he came from a long history of military service that just happened to be on the wrong side. Next to the photos were additional books on tactics that he studied. His first choice for a job in the USMC was to be a tank commander and a book on the tactics of the WWII German tank commander Rommel had a prominent place on the shelf. As is usually the case in the USMC, Secher wasn't given his first choice. Sure, he was disappointed, but he handled it with the same confident, professional grace that he handled any obstacle.
I feel foolish saying I miss him and think of him often now when, the truth is, I was busy and hadn't looked up his name for years before I looked up his name and learned of his death. Maybe I'm just frustrated that the world didn't stop on that day almost six years ago and somehow announce our shared loss. I'm sure it did seem to stop for some of you. For those of you who were maybe too young to remember him well, he was the perfect hero, ready to serve valiantly on whatever stage history would give him. He would be that hero that you see in the movies. We just lost him too soon.
To mom and dad, thank you for the amazing man that you brought into this world and shared with us. My son will know that I am a better man because of your son.
He was always faithful.