Cpl. Cory L. Palmer
21, of Seaford, Del.; assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 6 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio of wounds sustained May 1 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.
Delaware Marine injured in Iraq dies: Seaford 21-year-old was wounded in blast
Still, he didn't expect the worst. "Every day after the accident, I hoped that everything would be all right," he said.
So when Cory's father, Charles, called him at 2:15 a.m. Sunday to say the young Seaford Marine had died from his wounds, Ralph Palmer's body went numb.
As the news spread Sunday and Monday, residents across Seaford and Delaware joined him in mourning.
All flags in the Sussex County community will fly at half-staff until after Palmer's funeral, officials announced Monday evening.
"Anyone who's willing to give their life for their country deserves this honor," said Seaford Mayor Edward H. Butler Jr.
Palmer, a member of the 2nd Recon Battalion, A Company 1st Platoon, was injured when the Humvee he was in was hit with an explosive near Fallujah about 9:20 p.m., Baghdad time, on May 1, 2006, according to his aunt, Montine Willin.
When Marine officials contacted the injured soldier's parents, Charles and Danna Palmer, on May 2, 2006, they said that the 21-year-old would be taken to a hospital in Germany. They were later told he would be taken to a hospital in San Antonio, and the Marines arranged their travel, said Ralph Palmer.
After the plane he was on left Germany, Palmer experienced complications from his injuries, Ralph Palmer said, which forced an emergency landing in Nova Scotia, Canada. As Charles and Danna Palmer anxiously waited in San Antonio for their son to land, they were given the news that he had died on the way.
"It was just his time to go, I guess," Ralph Palmer said.
Palmer is one of 2,415 soldiers killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Of those, 2,276 have been killed since President Bush announced the end of combat operations in April 2003.
Palmer was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, Ralph Palmer said, and had been there for five weeks when he was injured. His first tour lasted seven months. Ralph Palmer said his nephew never talked much about the war but was proud to be a Marine.
"He was always positive and wasn't hesitant to go to war either time," Ralph Palmer said. "He felt he was doing the right thing."
After Cory Palmer joined the Marines, Ralph Palmer said, his parents hung a Marine flag next to "Old Glory" at their house each day. He said his family is struggling to deal with the loss.
"He was a fun, loving guy," Willin said. "He was so full of energy."
A 2002 graduate of Seaford High School, Cory Palmer was on the varsity soccer team during his senior year. Before that, head coach Tim Lee said he had seen Cory Palmer around school and perceived him as an "ornery and mischievous guy."
Lejeune Marine dies from burns suffered in Iraq blast
Palmer’s parents, Charles and Danna Palmer, had gone to Texas awaiting the arrival of their son. But after the plane left Germany, Cory Palmer experienced complications, which prompted an emergency landing in Nova Scotia, Ralph Palmer said.
The Marine was a member of the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division at Lejeune. The Department of Defense confirmed his death Tuesday.
Palmer was wounded when the Humvee he was in was hit by an explosive near Fallujah, according to his aunt, Montine Willin.
Palmer was five weeks into his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was wounded.
A 2002 high school graduate, Cory Palmer played on the varsity soccer team during his senior year.
Seaford Mayor Edward Butler Jr. said flags at all city facilities would be lowered to half staff until after Palmer’s funeral.
"He was always up to something," Lee said. "As he got older, I noticed his maturity grew."
"He was the type of player that did what you told him to do," Lee said. "He was a proud member of the team, and I'm proud to say that I knew him."
Funeral arrangements set for Seaford Marine Corporal Cory Palmer
A Seaford Marine who died last weekend from injuries he suffered in Iraq will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The viewing for 21-year-old Corporal Cory Palmer will be Saturday, May 20, 2006, at the Cranston Funeral Home in Seaford. His funeral will be on Sunday, May 21, 2006, at Saint John's United Methodist Church.
Miscommunication leads to the report of wrong Marine’s death
In short, a Marine died en route from Germany to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, only it wasn’t the Marine whom personnel at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center first thought.
“There was some confusion,” Marie Shaw, a spokeswoman at Landstuhl, said Tuesday.
As reported in Tuesday’s edition of Stars and Stripes, Corporal Cory Palmer, 21, of Seaford, Delaware, died during a medical evacuation flight to Texas. Palmer was with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
However, Palmer was not the Marine profiled in Monday’s Stars and Stripes. That article chronicled the extraordinary lengths taken by U.S. military medical teams in Iraq, Germany and the U.S. to treat a Marine with burns over 60 percent of his body.
“He’s still alive, but he’s in very critical condition,” Shaw said.
The Marine, who has not been identified for privacy reasons, was injured along with at least two other Marines by a roadside bomb near Fallujah, Iraq, on May 1. One of the other two Marines injured was Palmer, Shaw said.
All three Marines, who had suffered varying degrees of burns, were flown to Landstuhl on May 3, 2006.
The Marine with the most serious burns received special, around-the-clock attention teams from Brooke and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, the Marine — as well as Palmer and the other man — were loaded aboard an Air Force C-17 bound for Brooke. Palmer’s condition worsened during the flight and he died.
News of Palmer’s death didn’t reach Landstuhl until late Sunday, Shaw said. On Monday, when Stripes made a routine check into the one Marine’s condition, it was informed the man had died, though, in fact, it was Palmer.
At first, Shaw explained, “our doctors believed it was the same patient. … They automatically assumed it was the guy they worked on.”
So while hospital staffers are relieved the first Marine is still alive, they feel awful because another one of their patients died.
Emotionally, Shaw said, it has been “like a rollercoaster ride.”
American flags large and small whipped in stiff breezes late Sunday afternoon as a grieving community paid respects and said goodbye to “an American hero,” Corporal Cory L. Palmer — one of two Seaford Marines to die this month in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Amid a massive display of patriotism and in the presence of veterans organizations, funeral services with full military honors were held at St. John’s United Methodist Church, several blocks from where a protest was staged earlier Sunday.
Corporal Palmer, the 21-year-old son of Charles and Danna Palmer, died May 6, 2006, while en route to the U.S. from Landstuhl Army medical center in Germany, where he had been treated for burns and injuries sustained May 1, 2006, when a bomb exploded beneath an armored Humvee near Fallujah. Only one of five Marines on that vehicle survived.
Corporal Palmer, a 2002 Seaford High School graduate, will be buried at 1 p.m. today at Arlington National Cemetery.
“You are in the presence of an American hero,” said Lieutenant Richard Ryan, a Navy chaplain. “I saw people walking all around the neighborhood (Sunday). As I got closer to the church I realized what was going on — Marine Corps flags everywhere, American flags everywhere. They were here for you guys.”
An honorary Marine pallbearer stood at attention next to the casket, draped with an American flag, during the ceremony.
Marine Captain Matthew Welch awarded the Purple Heart to the Palmer family. Hundreds of people, many with flags or visual signs of patriotism, jammed the streets to witness the 21-gun salute and taps, part of military honors held outside between the church and the Seaford fire hall.
“Your son did not die in vain,” said Lieutenant Ryan. “He died attempting to keep America and the world free from terror.”
To accommodate the huge funeral crowd, closed-circuit viewing was available in the St. John’s second-floor parish and the Seaford Volunteer Fire Hall.
At the start of the ceremony, some wept openly as a photo montage traced Corporal Palmer’s life from infancy, through boyhood and teenage years to adulthood as a U.S. Marine.
Injured May 1, 2006, Corporal Palmer died four days before his 22nd birthday.
“My first reaction was to wonder how a family, an extended family, a community could cope with such a terrible tragedy, such unspeakable loss,” said the Rev. Boyd Etter of St. John’s UMC. “As we began to share together over these past couple of weeks, it became that the answer is to be found in faith.”
The Rev. Etter said Cory was a person others couldn’t help but love.
“They loved every bit of who Cory was — his vivaciousness, his character, his loving to have fun,” said the Rev. Etter.
“Cory Palmer’s life is as woven in a silk garment, countless number of brilliantly colored thread, intersecting each other, making something of great beauty,” said the Rev. Andrew Kerr of the Atlanta Road Alliance Church.
“As I watched this screen before the service I realized that throughout his life there were many colors, all of them making who he was. Many people have been woven into his life, contributing to a person who loved life and let others seek the great adventures of life.”
The Rev. Kerr, whose two sons serve in the military, shared his brief but special bond with Corporal Palmer.
“It was my privilege to be but a very thin strain in the fabric of Cory’s life. It was for me an unforgettable experience. Our paths crossed a few weeks ago,” he said. “I was traveling to North Carolina when I received a call that Cory was being treated for wounds that he had suffered as he protected our nation.
“I learned that Cory was being treated at a hospital in Germany. My heart jumped. Only a few miles from that hospital my son, who also served in the protection of our country, was stationed.
“I began to make a call, as well as a second to my son who is also serving our country, but stationed in Texas. It was the start of an amazing series of events that came together,” said the Rev. Kerr. “And as they came together they brought the touch of God, the touch of home into Cory’s hospital room.”
A week after Corporal Palmer’s death, Seaford lost a second Marine, 20-year-old Lance Corporal Richard Z. James, who was killed when struck by small arms fire near Ramadi. The viewing for Lance Corporal James, a 2004 Seaford Christian Academy graduate, is Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cranston Funeral Home.
Funeral services with full military honors are noon Wednesday at Seaford Christian Academy gymnasium. Lance Corporal James will be buried at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro.
When injured, Corporal Palmer was in his second tour in Iraq, serving with the Marine’s 2nd Recon Battalion, A Company 1st Platoon. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and a long list of relatives.
“This family we honor here today has paid the ultimate price for freedom,” Lieutenant Ryan said. “They have given one of their own. I encourage you to comfort them, to pray for them. Do not forget the sacrifices they have made. Your son is not forgotten. You are forever part of the Marine Corps family. Tomorrow he will be laid to rest along with some of the greatest Americans.”
At Arlington Cemetery Burial, 'Today We Add One More Hero'
Yesterday, the procession, the 235th at Arlington, bore the cremated remains of a 21-year-old from Seaford, Delaware, Marine Corporal Cory L. Palmer, who was wounded when his Humvee was hit by an explosive near Fallujah on May 1, 2006, according to his local newspaper, the (Wilmington) News Journal.
He died of his injuries May 6, 2006, on the way to a hospital in San Antonio, where his parents, Charles and Danna Palmer, were waiting to greet him, the paper said.
Their son is one of 2,457 U.S. military personnel to die in Iraq, according to the Defense Department.
He was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
On Sunday, Palmer's memorial service in Seaford was chosen apparently at random for a protest by members of a Baptist church from Topeka, Kan., who believe that soldiers are dying in Iraq because of the United States' embrace of homosexuality, but they were drowned out by a larger counter-protest of people shouting "USA! USA!," honking from passing motorists and more than 1,000 locals who came to support Palmer's family.
Yesterday's ceremony at Arlington was nothing but calm.
Palmer's military service qualified him for standard honors, which included a coffin team, a firing party and a bugler to play taps.
And so, just after 1 p.m. on a blustery, cool day, the gentle and quiet rituals began for the young man who played varsity soccer his senior year in high school, who was a "fun, loving guy" on his second tour in Iraq.
A white-hatted, white-gloved Marine saluted the box carrying Palmer's remains as it was lifted out of a car. Three Marines carried the box to the waiting grave, then unfolded an American flag above it. Palmer's mother, father, other relatives and friends -- more than 100 in all -- followed across the grass.
It was difficult to hear what was said at Palmer's graveside, but the words included "victory" and "hero." A Navy chaplain referenced the Vietnam and World War II memorials nearby and said of Marines such as Palmer, "It will be years before we realize the significance of their sacrifice.
"Today we add one more hero who died so we can live free," he said. "A man of honor, a man of courage, a man of commitment."
The crowd prayed then, and a line of Marines tilted their rifles and fired three shots into the sky in salute. A bugler played taps, and off to the side, a few people there to visit other graves stood at attention and watched.
The honor guard folded the flag again and gave it to Master Sergeant Barry Baker, who dropped to his knee and presented it to one of Palmer's two brothers. He took off a white glove to shake hands with Palmer's mother, father and several others seated on the front row, and then, it was over.
On Jan 29, 2008, at 12:35 AM, Danna Palmer wrote:
"Delaware's Fallen Heroes will be honored in a Banner Program, initiated by the Wilmington Chapter of Vietnam Veteran's Survivors. Mrs. Judy Campbell is the impetus behind this project. In an email to her, I gave the story of this photo. I hope you love seeing Cory's smile as much as we do. This joyful child grew into a young man whose legacy, after all, is joy. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
"Our love and thanks to all of you for your steadfast support in prayer for our family, Danna and Charles"
"Judy - this is the photo I would like to use on the banner. It was taken by a buddy in Dec/Jan 04/05 - just before we took Fallujah - the first time around. (To placate our legislators, who were not convinced that this was a worthy cause, we subsequently had the equivalent of a "cease fire" that summer at which time the insurgents took back Fallujah.)
"During Cory's 2nd tour, the Marines were again making inroads into Fallujah to stabilize it when Cory's Humvee hit an IED, and 4 Marines were killed. In all, 11 Recon Marines were lost in from May to September, 2006. Subsequently, President Bush initiated the Troop Surge - which we should have had INSTEAD of a "cease-fire," in order to hold onto Fallujah and other areas that had already been procured.
This photograph was later used to honor Cory posthumously as American Sniper, 2007, by AmericanSnipers.org. This group consists of Law Enforcement Officers in our country who support sniper teams wherever they are. Cory was also posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Achievement with Valor. For these honors, we are most humbly blessed. Cory would say, of course, that he and each of his Marine Brothers worked together as a team, and that they earned these prestigious honors together. That is the nature of our Fallen Heroes, to honor those who loved them best – the Living, Breathing Heroes among us. Live with joy, and stand proudly before us, mighty warriors, as we enjoy the freedoms you protect for us.
"Now, here is my most beautiful son - grinning from ear to ear. I was told by a military expert - that the smile indicates that "something good just happened when his rifle fired just seconds ago."
"Thanks, Judy, for this wonderful project, Danna"