Slain Marine loved God, his family and the Corps
Iraq - The Bend-area man, due home in September, was killed by a roadside bomb Sunday while on patrol
Thursday, August 24, 2006
BEND -- A day before Lance Cpl. Randy Newman was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, he talked to his dad about what he wanted to do when he returned home on leave in late September.
The Marine was hoping to take his sergeant elk hunting in Oregon and his 8-year-old brother, Ken, to Disneyland. "He was upbeat, encouraged," said his father, Jerry Newman.
But the younger Newman was killed Sunday by a bomb while patrolling with his unit in a light armored vehicle in Iraq's northern Al Anbar province.
"We are brokenhearted," Jerry Newman said Wednesday.
Holding back tears, he and his wife, Ramona Newman, stood with friends in front of their home amid the junipers and rabbit brush east of Bend as U.S. and Marine Corps flags hung at half staff behind them.
Randy Newman, 21, was committed to his family, God and his fellow Marines, they said.
"I realize when people die we only remember the good things," Jerry Newman said. "But I don't remember a week that went by that he didn't honor me."
Newman was a member of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion of the 1st Marines Division based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
He joined the Marines a year after graduating in 2003 from Mountain View High School, only waiting that long at his father's request. "He felt he needed to do something," his father said. "His friends were going off to college."
Newman was injured twice before by roadside bombs since deploying to Iraq in March, his family said. Sunday's attack also killed Cpl. Adam A. Galvez of Salt Lake City.
"It doesn't surprise me that he was in a very precarious place and doing it very willingly," said Les Combs, his high school wrestling coach.
Newman was passionate about physical fitness, first as a high school wrestler and then as a Marine, his father said.
After a long day's labor in Iraq, when other Marines were looking to rest, Newman would do sit-ups or push-ups, his father said. He even did squats with his vehicle's driver loaded on his shoulders.
He hoped to become a personal trainer after his time with the Marines concluded, his father said. He even sent his dad a weight-loss book from Iraq "and he told me to read it cover to cover because he didn't want to lose his dad," Jerry Newman said. "That was Randy."
The family thanked the community for its outpouring of goodwill. "We've had more support than is possibly imaginable," said Jerry Newman.
In their last conservation, Ramona Newman said she asked her son, a born-again Christian, if he was praying. He told her: "Mom, God and I are so tight right now," she recalled.
A public service for Newman is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond.
"Remember my son as a great and valued warrior," Ramona Newman said.
Matthew Preusch: 541-382-2006; firstname.lastname@example.org
Marine of Bend dies in Iraqi bombing
First tour - Lance Cpl. Randy Lee Newman, 21, "believed firmly" in serving his country, a friend says
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
A 21-year-old Marine from Bend was killed last weekend in Iraq, his family and friends said Monday.
Lance Cpl. Randy Lee Newman reportedly was killed Sunday morning by an improvised explosive device. Mike McKee, a family friend, said parents Jerry and Ramona Newman were informed of their son's death Sunday evening.
Another family friend, Cecil Wilson, told KTVZ television in Bend that the parents were told that an improvised explosive device hit the vehicle Newman was riding in about 1 a.m. Sunday Baghdad time just outside the Iraqi capital.
McKee said he could not confirm details of Newman's death. The Department of Defense also did not issue confirmation.
The family was expected to speak with the media later this week.
Newman was a member of Company D, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He was deployed on his first tour in Iraq in March.
Newman graduated from Mountain View High School in Bend, where he was a member of the wrestling team and participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which McKee said was an indication of his interest in serving in the military. He has two younger brothers.
Describing Newman as "an all-American kid," McKee said, "he believed firmly in what he was doing. . . . He volunteered for the Marines; he volunteered for reconnaissance duty. I think that speaks volumes about him by itself. The whole family is very God-fearing and believes in America."
McKee said Newman's parents were being comforted Monday night by family and friends and members of the Christian Life Church, which they attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bulletin, Bend Oregon 08/30/06
Marine honored - Lance CPL. Randy Lee Newman, 1985-2006
2,300 turn out for final salute to Bend's fallen son
By Cindy Powers / The Bulletin
Published: August 30. 2006 5:00AM PST
REDMOND - In the stadium where 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Randy Lee Newman celebrated his graduation from Mountain View High School three years ago, more than 2,300 mourners gathered Tuesday to remember his love for his family, his faith in God and his fortitude in service as a U.S. Marine.
Dignitaries, friends and family greeted one another with hugs and tears as photos of Newman and his battalion in Iraq flashed across two large screens inside a pavilion at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center.
The stage was covered with bouquets and photos of the fallen young Marine.
Gold lettering on red, white and blue ribbons hanging from a carnation wreath read "Beloved son" and "Brother."
A picture of Newman with his mother and a vase with a single red rose were the only two items atop a lace-covered table sitting slightly forward of the stage. Just to the side, Newman's dress Marine coat and his white service cap hung on display.
Some young mourners donned T-shirts with Newman in his dress blues on the front. The phrase "It's not about the date when you were born or when you die, it's about the dash in between," was written on the back.
The date following Newman's dash is Aug. 20, 2006.
An improvised explosive device ripped into the armored vehicle he was riding in at about 2 p.m. Baghdad time, according to military officials.
It was his third encounter with the devices that litter the countryside of the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
Newman was less than a month away from returning home to Bend after a six-month deployment with the 3rd Light Armored Division, Company D, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
His family was still waiting for his return Tuesday.
Newman's body had not been reunited with his family, according to a family spokesman.
His parents, Jerry and Ramona Newman, sat silently with his younger brothers - 18-year-old Dan and 8-year-old Ken - sitting between them during the two-hour service.
At 11 a.m. sharp the crowd fell silent.
After a brief introduction, the wail of bagpipes filled the stadium with "Amazing Grace" as a Marine honor guard carried an American flag and the U.S. Marine Corps flag to the stage.
Newman's family pastor, Dan LeLaCheur, officiated the ceremony and was joined by friends, government officials and fellow service members who spoke at the memorial.
Each of them talked about Newman's devotion to family and strong Christian faith.
"I thank God that he gave me such a good mother," Newman wrote in a letter he recently sent home from Iraq.
He wrote that his father was his "best friend" and referred to himself as a "momma's boy."
In addition to letters home and e-mails, Newman called home whenever he got the chance.
"Randy loved his family and when he came back from a mission, before he would shower or eat he would try to call his family," LeLaCheur said.
In messages left on the family answering machine that crackled from loudspeakers, Newman repeatedly told his parents and brothers that he loved them and that he was doing well.
In a letter printed in the program for the service, Newman thanked his father for the time they worked, played and hunted together.
Jerry Newman instilled in his son a love for hunting and fishing on weeklong trips spent with his eight uncles at a remote camp near Pendleton, said longtime family friend Bret Matteis.
From the time he was a teen, Matteis said, Newman could be counted on to help out in any situation that came up during the camping trips.
When an uncle who had recently undergone heart surgery had to leave a hunting trip early one year, Newman helped him ride out on horseback.
The work ethic served him well during his three years on the wrestling team at Mountain View High School. Newman was one of the hardest working athletes on the team, said coach Les Combs.
"Randy never backed away from a challenge," Combs said.
Newman also excelled in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps while in high school, said Master Chief J. W. Terry, a naval service instructor at Mountain View.
"The seniors of that 2003 year are known simply as 'The Class' to our cadets," Terry said. "In the corps of cadets, their names are legendary."
After giving the names of each cadet in the class, Terry finished with Randy Newman.
Newman's JROTC leader, Col. Mike Brock, said "his life path was to become a Marine."
Two of Newman's brethren presented his parents with a Purple Heart, for injuries he sustained in an April explosion, and a posthumously awarded Gold Star for the injuries that caused his death.
Newman's father closed his eyes and winced as he accepted his son's Gold Star.
While many of Newman's friends and fellow Marines attended his memorial, his closest friend was notably absent.
Newman met Army Cpl. Ryan Wilson when the two played on a baseball team in third grade.
But Wilson is serving in Afghanistan, explained his wife, Stephanie.
She read a letter Tuesday that her husband titled "My Best Friend."
"A piece of me died as I read that Red Cross letter on August 21 telling me that I lost my brother in arms," Wilson, wrote.
The two communicated by e-mail nearly every day, Stephanie Wilson said, and Newman typed his final words to her husband the day the young Marine died.
"It said 'I've always got your back,'" she said.
The words did not come as a surprise to friends, family, fellow service members and LeLaCheur, who all said that Newman put others before himself.
He spared his family the details of his prior run-ins with IEDs so they wouldn't worry about him.
He often ate last during his service in Iraq to make sure fellow Marines had enough food, said Pfc. Christopher Grimm, who served with Newman during his deployment there.
Grimm spoke haltingly at Tuesday's service, his lower lip trembling as he shared memories of Newman's boundless energy despite long days in a remote land.
One night the two came back from patrol and all Grimm wanted to do get some shut-eye, he said.
But Newman had other ideas.
After several visits to his bunk, Newman finally coaxed Grimm into a late-night game of catch.
"I thought, 'Man this guy has no quit in him,'" Grimm said.
Grimm's impression was echoed by the Marines that served with him, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, said Tuesday.
"Randy's physical vigor stood out even among his fellow Marines, who are a famously sturdy bunch," Walden said. "His platoon mates recalled that after exhausting days in Iraq, Randy would do push-ups and sit-ups while others recouped their strength."
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a former Marine himself, said he would have relished the chance to ride with Newman in his full-size Dodge pickup to share stories of life as a young Marine.
The souped-up truck is painted Mountain View red, white and black, and it sports a rebuilt engine, shiny metallic roll bars and new rims on its oversized wheels.
It served as the Newman family's ride to the fairgrounds Tuesday after they drove through downtown Bend to see streets lined with American flags in honor of their son.
"I promise I will own it the rest of my life," Jerry Newman said in an earlier interview.
On Tuesday, Kulongoski also spoke of the 67 other soldier, sailors, airmen and Marines with close ties to Oregon who have lost their lives while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I pray for them all," he said. "I pray for their grieving families. I pray for a rapid end to this conflict. And most of all, I pray for answers to why heroes like Lance Cpl. Randy Newman continue to be taken from our midst even though they can never be taken from our hearts."
I cannot say I have found the answers I'm looking for," Kulongoski said.
But Pastor LeLaCheur closed Tuesday's service by calling it "a celebration."
"Randy celebrated his graduation from high school right here and today we gather for another graduation," LeLaCheur said. "Today we celebrate Randy being with his savior."
And, he said, Newman graduated with honors.
Cindy Powers can be reached at 617-7812 or at email@example.com.