GySgt Robert L. Gilbert II
DOD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert II, 28, of Richfield, Ohio, died March 16 of wounds sustained March 8 while supporting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan . He was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C .
Gilbert's awards include a Purple Heart, a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons, three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, an Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and three Sea Service Deployment ribbons.
Area Marine critically hurt
An area Marine whose helmet was pierced by a bullet last week in Afghanistan was taken off life support Sunday.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert, 27, was in intensive care at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Monday night.
His family was at his bedside.
Gilbert, a 2000 Revere High School graduate, was on his fifth tour of duty in the Middle East and his second tour in Afghanistan when his platoon was ambushed during a Special Operations mission, family friend Anthony Maroon said.
The attack apparently happened sometime March 8.
''He took a shot to the right side of his head'' from a high-powered rifle, Maroon said.
In another incident a couple of days earlier, Gilbert's Kevlar vest prevented a bullet from entering his body, Maroon said.
''It saved his life.''
Maroon said Gilbert had a bad feeling about the latest tour in Afghanistan.
''He thought his days were numbered,'' Maroon said, recalling what Gilbert wrote in a note to his girlfriend after the earlier shooting.
Maroon is best friends with Gilbert's father, Richfield police officer Bob Gilbert.
Last Wednesday, Bob Gilbert flew to Germany, where his son was stabilized after being transferred from Afghanistan.
On Friday, father and son arrived in Bethesda after flying to the United States on a military airplane.
Maroon, a local law-enforcement officer, spoke Sunday night with Gilbert.
''He hasn't slept but maybe four hours in the last five days,'' Maroon said. ''He has been at his son's bedside. He won't
Dale Canter, the Richfield police chief, said the son is ''a poster Marine'' — 6 feet 2 inches, ''extremely handsome, excellent shape.''
''He lived the life of a Marine. Very meticulous about himself. His appearance. His uniform.''
Police officers were thinking a lot about the family, the chief said.
''We hear of casualties every day. We become callous,'' Canter said. ''But when it hits home, it sure awakens a lot of emotions.''
The Facebook site ''GySgt Robert Gilbert — A miracle in the making'' has attracted more than 2,500 members.
Bob Gilbert , 56, posted an update on the site on Sunday that included this:
''I raised and enjoyed my son while he was stationed in his 'temporary home' on Earth and I am privileged and honored to embrace GySgt Robert as he exits this world. . . . ''
The father wrote that Sunday he was joined at the hospital by about 28 people, including about a dozen who were ''brothers from another mother, other Reconn Marines.''
Two of those at the hospital were the parents of a Marine — a friend of the younger Gilbert's — who was killed in training, the father wrote.
The younger Gilbert's mother died several years ago of cancer, Maroon and Canter said.
Sgt. Gilbert joined the Marines when he was 18. At age 20, he became one of the three youngest sergeants in the Marine Corps.
''He's always been wanting to fight for his country,'' Maroon said.
At one point, Gilbert expressed interest in becoming a state trooper. But his desire to remain in the Marines was strong.
''He said, 'I guess I'm going to retire from this and then pursue that,' '' Maroon said. ''He kind of laughed about it.''
Maroon said Gilbert's birthday is today.