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Godspeed, Rhino!

Unfortunately, LtCol David "Rhino" Greene was killed while providing cover for the 2/4 Marines. Below is the article about his memorial ceremony in Iraq on August 2nd:

Deployed Marines say goodbye to fallen HMLA-775 pilot
Story by Staff Sgt. A.C. Mink

Al Taqqadum, Iraq- (Aug. 6, 2004) -- “…If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

These words from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” greeted hundreds of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers as they gathered at the chapel here Aug. 2 to pay homage to Lt. Col. David S. “Rhino” Greene, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot and aviation maintenance officer with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Greene was killed July 28 while providing cover for casualty evacuation of critically injured Marines and close air support to his fellow Marines on the ground.

The blow to this close-knit Marine aviation community was evident, though there were few outward displays during the service.

“The squadron’s stoic acceptance of a loss of a fellow warrior is indicative of her drive to complete a righteous and important mission,” said Col. Guy M. Close, commanding officer, MAG-16, under whom HMLA-775 falls while deployed to Iraq. “They’re well-led, once again demonstrating that they are among the best America has to offer.”

A platoon of Marines from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, the infantry unit Greene was providing air support to when he was killed, were also on hand to pay their respect during the memorial ceremony.

Greene was a Marine reservist, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1986. A native of Illion, N.Y., he lived with his wife and two children in Shelburne, Vt., while assigned to Detachment A, HMLA-775, a reserve squadron based in Johnstown, Pa. He was known for his down-to-earth personality, good humor and judicious, well-considered counsel.

Lt. Col. Karl F. Frost, executive officer, HMLA-775, spoke of Greene’s “unassuming nobility.”

Voice cracking with emotion, he said, “If I could say one thing right now, it would be ‘thank you.’”

Greene, a project manager for B.F. Goodrich Aerospace in Vermont, was scheduled to return to the United States in just a few weeks.

“He had humor, wit and a perpetual smile for all around him,” said Lt. Col. Bruce S. Orner, commanding officer, HMLA-775. “He effortlessly enriched the lives of all with whom he came in contact.

“Our prayers go out to his family,” he added. “His ‘final’ mission was complete, and it was his time to go home.”

He is survived by his wife, Sarah, and children, Wesley and Jena.

More on LtCol Greene here and here. Please keep the Greene family in your thoughts and prayers.