Two battalions hit hard by loss of young soldier from Minnesota
January 19, 2005
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — Spc. Dwayne McFarlane Jr. wasn’t old enough to buy a beer, but the Cass Lake, Minn., native was old enough to have completed one tour of Iraq and volunteer for another.
Mac, as he was known to his fellow soldiers, had been planning to volunteer for a deployment to Afghanistan after he returned from Iraq a second time.
Instead, more than 100 of his fellow 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division soldiers honored his life and mourned his death during a memorial service Monday.
Many more would have attended if it were not for ongoing missions, soldiers said, which is something Mac would have understood.
McFarlane, 20, was killed Jan. 9 by a roadside bomb while patrolling in the nearby town of Abu Ghraib, where he served as a fire support specialist.
Mac’s loss hit two of the brigade’s battalions hard. He was assigned to the Allons (French for “Let’s go”) of the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, but was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment at the time of his death.
“We consider him part of the Golden Dragon family,” said Col. John Smith, 2-14 battalion commander. “We’ll remember him as an Allon and as a Golden Dragon.”
Staff Sgt. Eugene Chavez, fire support noncommissioned officer, spoke of McFarlane as one of the best soldiers he has ever seen.
“He had the potential to go a long way in his military career,” he said during the service.
Chavez said that McFarlane was the kind of guy who would stand guard duty with new soldiers so they wouldn’t be alone during their first-ever shift.
“He knew what being here entailed,” recalled friend Pfc. Randy Guerra. “Anybody who knew Mac knew he was one of a kind.”
McFarlane is survived by his uncle, Don Bellanger; brother, Darrell; and sister, Melissa.