To most of us he wasn’t Will, he was “Stacey”. He was my friend, but in the Marines you gain a lot of “friends”, but you gain brothers as well. In many ways the brotherhood of Marines is more intimate than the relationship between husband and wife. We knew each others deepest fears and what the other considered most important in his life. Stacey and I didn’t know each other for long, but it didn’t take long to realize that we were both born of the same blood. The most important thing to him was to “live the good life, and fight the good fight”. To us those went hand in hand. We are uncomfortable without a gun in our hands, uncomfortable if we weren’t sleeping in the mud, or freezing our butts off. I know that even though he has moved on from this world, where ever he is he’s fighting the good fight.
Stacey was truly a remarkable Marine. Not just because he was in good shape and could shoot accurately, but because he embraced the life of war-fighting. He lead his Marines like a force of nature. When he was leading them, they knew that they would be ok. They knew what they were doing was important, because Sgt. Stacey was in front of them telling them to do it. He wouldn’t put his Marines in harms way unless he was there with them. Leading from the front is the Marine way, and Stacey was the poster boy for it.
I know his passing may seem terrible and unfair to some of you, but to his brothers in the Core we could never be more proud. He died an infantry man’s death. He died fighting the forces of evil, and really what more could you ask for in death? To die with such purpose, protecting the weak from the wicked. He died a United States Marine!
Will, I will miss you brother, and I will never forget the times we spent. Especially the miserable times together. I am proud to wear the same uniform as you and to know that now I have you guiding my bullets against the enemy. I will see you again, rather it be sooner or later, and we will stand side by side once again on another battlefield protecting the weak from the wicked. I love you man. Semper Fidelis brother.