Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Note to Hallmark: For some, it IS Memorial Day every day

Let me see if I can keep this simple: In America, yesterday was Memorial Day. To some of us, Memorial Day is a most sacred day when we pay homage, we remember and honour all of our Fallen Heroes who have given their lives to protect those freedoms which make America great.

One of those freedoms so hard fought for, bled for, is freedom of speech, and yesterday Hallmark exercised that right. In the process they upset MANY Americans (and yes, foreigners) with their Maxine cartoon.

(c) Hallmark, of course!

Throughout the day, there was hot debate on a social networking site, and to say it got ugly is an understatement. I read some ignorant morons heaping salt into already aching wounds of military families (yes, some Gold Star Moms among them. You know, moms who have lost their precious children to the GWOT, and whom Memorial Day should be focused on, ) and supporters, as they told those upset about the message of this Maxine cartoon:

Have a sense of damn humor! I am sick of everyone complaining.


OMG people! If you're so offended by a CARTOON.....get off of the computer and go out and thank a vet or make up and ship a care package to one. That would make more of a difference than sitting in front of a computer screen bitching about a comment from a FICTIONAL character for Gods sake!


some of us had the day off and thought we would run errands since it is a day off! Forget that!! everything but walmart and walgreens are locked down tight!


I don't think it was meant to be disrespectful and I personally didn't take it that way.

Those are just a small sampling and it did get uglier, as some people tried to share why this cartoon hurt so many who find it offensive, why it IS disrespectful, and just plain WRONG!

One Marine wife, whose son has also served, tried to explain WHY she found it offensive and was told to "Get COUNSELLING"..

In response to this ignorance:

Why must everyone take things so seriously....you don't like it....unlike it on your fb and don't get your bloomers in a wad....

Was this:

you obviously don't know the widow or child or parent of a soldier who was killed. This is disrespectful to them and to the memory of those who served this country honorably.

And therein lies the rub. It has been noted that only 1% of America is at war, while the rest of the population is at the mall. And make no mistake, for companies like Hallmark, America IS just one big mall, an opportunity for commerce, pursuit of the almighty dollar, and never mind the aching hearts of the thousands of Americans all too intimately aware of the cost of military service.

The publishing of this cartoon, sadly, demonstrates the absolute disconnect that most of America has from the current GLOBAL war.

When I read this, I totally despaired:

Unbelievable that so many of you are pissed about this! I'm pretty damn sure that no disrespect for the heroes we lost who served was intended. It's a comic for pete's sake! Lighten up. sheesh!

Well believe this: I was and still am totally pissed off at the disrespect of Hallmark yesterday. What also distressed me was the defence, by some, of Hallmark's indefensible cartoon. Oh, I really DO 'get' that for many Americans, this global war we are in is totally irrelevant, and I DO 'get' that Maxine is a fictional character. However, for a huge corporation who makes their profits on pulling at the heartstrings - and wallets - of Americans, the ignorance of cartoon was beyond despicable.

As someone pointed out, there was NO American flag included in the picture; absolutely nothing to remind folks about the significance, the meaning of Memorial Day.

As someone wrote to me in a private message:

Its not like I want Americans to feel sorry for any of us because its part of military life, its the gamble you take when you sign your life away and pledge to protect us from all enemies foreign and domestic BUT I would pray that they could show a little respect! Its like they are laughing and talking during a funeral service and it is beyond rude- but then again military life is a double edged sword and the people we love that we choose to honor, died to protect their freedom to not understand it. Honestly every Marine I know fallen, wounded or served wouldn't have it any other way and that gives me a sense of pride and love that those people will never understand. So poor them! :-P

Pride and love. THAT is what Memorial Day should be about, and respect and appreciation. An acknowledgement that, as one Gold Star Father I am humbled to have as a friend calls it, 'the special priviledge of sacrifice,' matters, for at least this one day a year.

My regular readers know I am connected to some amazing Gold Star Families, who have honoured me by basically 'adopting' me as one of their own, and every single day my heart hurts for them, as they walk their paths with such dignity and grace. THOSE character traits were sorely lacking in the commentary on this Maxine cartoon, as we all saw the quintessential ugly Americans so rudely badmouthing any military family member who dared to voice their upset over the ignorance of Hallmark. Freedom of speech for the ugly, but apparently not allowed for those who have given so much in service to America.

Oh, some commenters tried to spin the message by reminding that Maxine is always sarcastic and that the cartoon really IS a tribute to our Fallen. Puleeeeze! Not buying it. And I won't be buying Hallmark products ever again.

In case any should try and suggest that it was just the Gold Star Families, and military supporters, who failed to get the supposed tribute by Maxine yesterday, one of my favourite veterans also weighed in on this topic. From War on Terror News:

Hallmark's Maxine has reiterated and re-inforced the problem in America. People see Memorial Day as just a day off. It's just a commercialized day of sales and bar-b-q's wrapped in the flag that covers Our Fallen.

C.J. Grisham As a Soldier, I fought for their right to be stupid. However, there are also consequences that come with using those rights. If I oppose an editorial opinion like this, I am free to spend my money elsewhere. Freedom of speech isn't freedom from consequences."

Should the 1% of America's Veterans boycott Hallmark? Should you write an angry letter? Should you let Hallmark know your thoughts?

CJ is right: The US Constitution affords Americans the right not only be stupid, but to demonstrate to the world just how stupid you are. And he is also correct: That stupidity has consequences and the US Constitution does not protect from those consequences....

He has more, of course, here.

Contact information for Hallmark was shared yesterday, as some tried to suggest that we allow Hallmark the opportunity to 'make things right.' Riiiiiight. As I wrote somewhere yesterday, when you mess with OUR Gold Star Families, our military families, for whom every day is Memorial Day, there is no second chance, there is no making it right. Period. As I have often noted, words have power, and once uttered or written there is no taking back the initial intent or impact. And yes, I believe that a huge corporation such as Hallmark has NO excuse in this instance. IF their intent was to pay tribute to the true meaning of Memorial Day, and acknowledge the debt we ALL owe to our Fallen Heroes, and their families, this cartoon would have said so, in unambiguous language.

As someone I quoted previously says:

Oh honey, Maxine does not want to live life like every day is memorial day because that means every day you are hurt. You recall the day that changed your life a...nd your families life forever...So F that insensitive writer and God bless those people that don't have to feel the pain most of us experience on a regular basis and can have a goddamn picnic today because my family and friends (and many other Americans) have been paying the price for it for a long long time. GRRRRRRR!! We have been living every day like its memorial day since the push in Fallujah, and as the years go by it intensifies. Growing up I got to go to Memorial Services on this sacred day and understood from a young age today isn't about a day off or swimming, etc that's what the other 364 days are for. ONE DAY! JUST ONE DAY! To think about someone other than yourself that sacrificed so much so you can enjoy your life, is too much to ask from many Americans today because they are so damn selfish!...

Yes, for some of our American families, every day IS Memorial Day, and every day as they walk their path of grief, they get to deal with Americans who choose to be what I call 'wilfully ignorant' about the sacrifices made, so they can remain free to be stoooopid.

Memorial Day is a sacred day, and with their Maxine cartoon yesterday, Hallmark proved, with NO room for misinterpretation, just how stupid, ignorant, they truly are. They exercised their freedom to prove that, in the land of the free, because of the brave.

Shame on YOU, Hallmark!

UPDATE: It appears that after 36+ hours of questions, insults, and disrespect of Gold Star and other military families, by "Fans", the FaceBook Maxine page admin. has issued this:

Dear Maxine Fans,

We understand some were offended by Maxine's post on Memorial Day, and for that we are truly sorry. While Maxine is known for her irreverence and playful nature, it can sometimes come off as being ...thoughtless and insensitive. Please understand that she meant no disrespect to the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, as well as those who continue to fight and sacrifice so much for our freedom today.

Those of us who help create Maxine regret missing the opportunity to say something meaningful to everybody on Memorial Day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and rest assured we will be more thoughtful next year.


John Wagner

Uglier than War

The world is a very dangerous place these days, and yet so many people seem to have no clue what is really going on. Our politicians, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, seem to work tirelessly at keeping the public blissfully uninformed (okay, ignorant.) Ten second soundbites of '14 civilians killed today,' or 'hundreds of protesters again gathered' in places that most of the public has never heard of.

Today, more than ever, this ignorance of world affairs - how each seemingly isolated act of terrorism in far away corners of the planet, is connected, and does affect us all - is even more dangerous. Yet, to read or listen to the daily news, joe public could be excused - maybe - for remaining woefully ignorant.

Fortunately, some are paying attention, some are connecting the dots.

From War on Terror News comes an important column, which sets it all out. Read on:

Uglier Than War


"...War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. " John Stuart Mill

Our Nation, or rather Our Military, has been at war for nearly a decade. In reality, we have been fighting for nearly a decade, though we have been at war for far longer. For decades, we ignored the attacks of the enemy, we ignored the declarations of war of the enemy. They were far off and easily forgotten, by all but the families of the affected. We ignored the senseless murder of far off civilians oppressed by the same enemy.

Those that desire to oppress, to expand their own power and ideology, are not of the same mind, but often their greed brings them to ally themselves of fellow oppressors, even of diabolically opposing ideologies. The ideologies of similarity often finds itself in opposition to would be allies, as did the national Socialism of the Nazi Empire to the Communistic Socialism of the Soviet Empire. Democratically elected politicians find value in distorting the realities of "allies" and "enemies" to rally the people to a cause or away from an action.

"When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice--is often the means of their regeneration." John Stuart Mill

In today's world of politicized MSM, and politicians of misportrayed goals, too often, the "masses" blindly follow and reiterate the slogans fed them, by politicians and pundits, as to what is at risk. It often appears that those that denigrate the ideals of Americanism, of Freedom, of Capitalism, of a Republican form of government in the hands of the people, are given a greater platform, and free er hand in pronouncing it, than are those that endorse the US Constitution.

Consider the news of Afghanistan this weekend, which repeatedly talks about the "9 Civilians Killed" by NATO aircraft, while continuing to ignore that those civilians were surrounded by Taliban thugs shooting at US Marines. The Taliban had ignored the Geneva Conventions and Laws of Land Warfare by forcibly taking refuge in the civilian's property, by failing to safeguard those same civilians from harm, and by preventing those civilians from seeking safety away from the battle. But these details are not provided by the media. These details are purposefully ignored. ...

There is MUCH more, and it is a must read HERE. If you read nothing else today, read this column over at WOTN.

It may suit the politicians to keep us all ignorant, but I contend it is the DUTY of all citizens to seek out the facts, to educate themselves. To do otherwise endangers us all.

The facts are out there, even if to find them may take some effort. It is said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I believe it is not over-stating the facts to assert that we are all doomed if we choose to ignore the history of current events.

Pay attention!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Some Gave All: Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC

Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC
Picture: Via MOD

Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC killed in Afghanistan

29 May 11

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC, both from Juliet Company 42 Commando Royal Marines, were killed in Afghanistan on Friday 27 May 2011.

Lieutenant Augustin and Marine Alexander were killed by an Improvised Explosive Device whilst on patrol in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali district in Helmand province.

The patrol, which was led by Lieutenant Augustin, was tasked to disrupt insurgent activity in their perceived rear area and provide depth to the Clear, Hold, Build Operation occurring to the North in Loy Mandeh Kalay further to expand the influence of the Government of Afghanistan.

Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC

Royal Marine killed in Afghanistan was awarded Military Cross for bravery

Royal Marine Samuel Alexander is decorated with The Military Cross by The Queen at Windsor Castle Photo: PA

In 2009, Marine Alexander was awarded the Military Cross by the Queen for his bravery in charging down a group of insurgents to draw fire away from an injured colleague.

Having used all the ammunition in his machine gun, he continued his assault with his 9mm pistol until that too was empty – forcing the enemy to retreat.

The citation for his award said he carried out his brave actions "despite being completely exposed to heavy and accurate enemy fire".

Marine Sam Alexander MC was born on 16 June 1982 in Hammersmith, London, where he grew up with his mother, Serena, father Stuart and sister, Sophie. He was married to Claire in November 2009 and their son Leo was born in July 2010.

He joined the Royal Marines in July 2006 and passed fit for duty in October 2007. On completion of training, Marine Alexander MC was appointed to the Fire Support Group in Mike Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines.

He later moved to Kilo Company and deployed on Operation HERRICK 9, during which he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. On his return from operations he trained as a Heavy Weapons (Anti-Tank) specialist and was appointed to Juliet Company, before returning to Afghanistan for Operation HERRICK 14.

Claire, Marine Alexander's wife, said:

"Sam was so special. He was the gentlest of men but tough when he needed to be. He risked his safety for his friends but never batted an eyelid. It was his job and a job he did well. Sam was a loving husband and a wonderful father. He was our rock and my best friend. He has been taken from me all too soon.

"We both love him and will miss him very much. These are all special guys who, for whatever reason, join a very tough band of blokes who willingly die for each other without a second thought. I just hope his death was not in vain"

Stuart, Marine Alexander's father, said:

"Sam's professionalism was widely acknowledged, the award of a Military Cross is testament to his courage and care for those around him. But it is as a father and husband that he showed the same deep-rooted wish always to help and care for others. People say I must be very proud, but the respect in which I held him was more important than pride. He was a great guy with a great smile and a zest for life. I loved him very much."

Serena, Marine Alexander's mother, said:

"The legacy that Sam leaves is hope - hope for oppressed people all over the World. There are people like Sam who risk their lives for others. Wherever you are now Sam, keep on fighting. You will never be forgotten".

Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison MBE, Commanding Officer 42 Commando Royal Marines, Coalition Force Nad-e Ali (North), said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was a truly remarkable young man. Decorated during his last tour of Afghanistan for gallantry, he embodied all the finest attributes of a Royal Marines Commando: he was courageous, selfless, resolute, loyal and cheerful in the face of adversity.

"The loss of such a professional and well respected Marine comes as shocking news; he was a larger than life character and leaves a gap that cannot be filled. One of the more senior Marines in Juliet Company, he inspired those around him to reach the highest possible standards and in doing so was an exemplary role model for those younger and less experienced than himself.

"He led by example and from the front and would have unquestionably had a promising future in the Royal Marines ahead of him. Sadly this will not be realised as his life has been tragically cut short. Instead, Marine Alexander now joins the legends, the bravest of the brave, who inspire us all forever with their courage, dedication and sacrifice; his memory will endure. On this the darkest of days, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Claire, their son Leo and his parents Stuart and Serena; may they somehow find the strength and courage to face the days ahead."

Major Steven McCulley, Officer Commanding, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was one of Juliet Company's most experienced and professional Marines. Not only was he a Heavy Weapons specialist, but also a Sharpshooter; a qualification he took much pride in. Having been awarded the Military Cross for bravery on Operation HERRICK 9, the lads looked up to him and he could be relied upon to galvanise them when required. An unbearable loss of life, he will be deeply missed by all of us."

Captain Rob Garside, Company Intelligence Officer, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC was one of the most experienced Marines in the Company. Having completed a previous HERRICK Tour, it was clear that more junior ranks looked up to him. A Bootneck that everyone would want to be by his side in a firefight, Sam Alexander was a true operational Bootneck who carried out his duties to the highest of standards. He will be sorely missed by all in Juliet Company and our thoughts are with his young family."

Warrant Officer Class 2 Andy Place, Company Sergeant Major, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was always the first man to volunteer for any detail. His professional attitude towards all military skills was infectious to the junior Marines within Juliet Company. Always proud to be a part of Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, ‘Jesters'; his attitude was that of a ‘big man trapped in a small body'. His tragic death will hit the Company hard, however he would not want to be the cause of any drop in excellence. My thoughts go to his wife, son and family. See you on the re-org Royal."
Corporal Phillip Willis, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Sam was one of those Bootneck's who was able to have a smile on his face no matter what the situation. Most days he would have something funny to say; out here it was that my eyebrows looked awesome as they have gone bleached blonde. He would say I looked like a super hero which would always make us laugh. Sam was a good person, a Bootneck showing all the qualities that a good Bootneck should have; cheerfulness in the face of adversity, selflessness, courage and determination."

Lance Corporal Christopher Watson, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Sam was one of those men who due to his experience everyone looked up to and respected regardless of rank. He always made the time to help the more junior Marines, and treated them with the same level of respect they afforded him. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and will be fondly remembered as the perfect Marine, as a great laugh and as a Great Man."

Lance Corporal Adam Perkins, 2 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC was a member of my Troop throughout training and ever since we have always crossed paths; since deploying on Operation HERRICK 9, and more recently Operation HERRICK 14. Sam was a character who never dropped his smile or charms, either on camp, in the accommodation or in the field. He was a lad who would never say no and would do anything for anyone. My thoughts are with his son Leo and wife Claire. Rest in Peace mate."

Leading Medical Assistant Chris Jones, Juliet Company Medic, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"I first met Marine Alexander MC during Operation HERRICK 9 when I was attached to his section. I remember he made me feel welcome and we laughed and joked about me being a Matelot out in the field. Sammy was awarded a Military Cross during Operation HERRICK 9 which is a testament to his bravery.

"Only a few days ago he jokingly said to me that we had a habit of being in sticky situations together. Apart from operations, I didn't know Sammy as well as others but I do know he was a humble guy, a very proud Royal Marine and a man I will always look up to. No two ways about it, Marine Sam Alexander MC was a hero, a legend who will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in Peace Sam, you will be sadly missed."

Marine Jason Badham, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC, a true hero, always full of morale, a real inspiration to us all and he will be greatly missed."

Marine Ross McIlduff & Marine Joshua Best, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Alexander MC epitomised a Royal Marine, always looking out for an oppo (opposite number), always first to give a hand and always lifted morale. He always carried out his job to the highest standards. A true Soldier.

"He always had some good ‘dits' to spin to the lads and was a guaranteed ‘Hoofing run ashore'; there was never a boring night with Sam. Sam will always be remembered for what he has done and will always be a ‘Jester'. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family."

Marine Michael Chapman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"I have only known Sam for about 6 months since joining Juliet Company, I was expecting a hoofing, courageous, selfless Bootneck after hearing about his Military Cross; and that is exactly what he was. He would always be the first to the stand-to position in order to protect everyone else. Even with so much to lose, i.e. his wife Claire and his future Formula One driver son, Leo.

"He was perfect for all occasions, if it be for a one on one welfare discussion or generally being the centre of a conversation; although his Formula One dits were sometimes ideal for sending you to sleep! Not forgetting his run ashore dits, the Pringle saying ‘once you pop, you can't stop,' was a perfect way to describe his drinking style.

"Although, he wouldn't let the beer defeat him, he would always soldier on to sun-uppers, or was adamant of making his way home to annoy his wife Claire; If that was the case, he would come into work the next day with his tail between his legs like a naughty dog. He was a truly a great asset to the Corps and will clearly be missed by many. An absolute professional."

Marine Louis Nethercott, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"To sum up Sam: A truly courageous and professional soldier."

Marine Liam Kelly, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Sam was one of the best and most professional Marines I have ever worked with. Having been in Fire Support Group with him since I arrived in the Unit 2 years ago after passing out, he was always on hand to give me advice on anything. I can say I have learnt a lot from him, especially from the time I spent with him on Operation HERRICK 14.

"Sam was very courageous and always first to volunteer for anything. Aside from being a real hand grenade ashore, and his horrendous Formula One dits; it was an honour to work alongside him. He will be sadly missed and our hearts go out to his wife Claire and son Leo."

Marine Brett Newman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Marine Sam Alexander MC was a credit to the Corps, he was always having a laugh and a joke with the lads and his daily complaints never failed to amuse. He thought the world of his wife and son, Leo, who Sam thought would be the next Lewis Hamilton; despite the fact he was still in nappies.

"He was a very good mentor to the new lads. One of my last memories of Sam was just before we started this Operation, we were all sat in our room packing our kit and we were all laughing at the fact that Sam couldn't pick up his Bergen. He was morale and he will be greatly missed amongst the lads."

Marine Matthew Smith, Headquarters, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Sam Alexander; what a bloke. As the Company Clerk, or spy as the lads like to call me, I get to know most of the lads pretty well. Sam was one of those who would always be a friendly face and always lots of morale. He would always come up with a witty one liner or ‘dit' that would instantly make you smile or burst out with laughter.

"The most recent memory I have of him is being in a resupply to his Check Point; with the stores being offloaded and Sam at the front, I can remember him breaking into song about nothing in particular, other than the fact that they were unloading stores. Quality. He was an amazing lad and a top Bootneck, with the medals to prove it, and I will never forget him. Corps legend through and through, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Rest in Peace mate. ‘Prove Jokers'."

Marine Owen Blake & Marine Dale Monk, Recce Troop, Command Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Both Dale and I had the pleasure of serving with Sam in Kilo Company for the duration of Operation HERRICK 9. We were both present on the day in Majah where Sam won his Military Cross for valiant action that heavily contributed to saving the life of his Section Commander.

"The Officer Commanding afterwards said that all the men that day were worthy of the award but those that were present all knew that the courage required to do what Sam did was way above what can be expected of an ordinary man. To run into open ground in direct enemy fire, effectively suppressing the enemy, while his fallen Section Commander was extracted just proved what all his colleagues already knew, that Sam was an exceptional soldier with the heart of a lion.

"During Post Operational Tour Leave and over a few ‘wets' Sam casually played down his award stating he was only doing his job; in the years since he has never showed off or acted on his award. This sums Sam up to a ‘T', a modest man and exceptional soldier and a Bootneck that many aspire to emulate. He will be truly missed."

Marine Sam Magowan, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Sam, the most inspirational Marine I have met. You will be missed by all. Rest in Peace."

The entire Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"A selfless decorated Marine who all aspired to emulate. A true Bootneck in every sense of the word, and a proud father. Fiercely loyal to all lucky enough to be called his friend. You can never be replaced and will never be forgotten."

The entire 2 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"We can remember when he came back to work after the birth of his boy and telling everyone how proud it made him; and then there was the Friday night DJ sessions in the accommodation that everyone loved (Gen!). Or just his general enthusiasm for his job and the effort he put into the lads; the Military Cross awarded to him on Operation HERRICK 9 proves this tenfold. Our thoughts go out to his family at this time. Rest in Peace Royal."

Defence Secreatry, Dr Liam Fox, said:

"As a holder of the Military Cross for gallantry, Marine Alexander demonstrated some of the finest attributes of a Royal Marine Commando and was clearly held in high regard by his colleagues. The ultimate sacrifice that he has made for the safety of others will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time."


Holding all who love this Fallen Hero in my heart. Always remembered and honoured.

Rest in Peace.

[For more on Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin go here]

Some Gave All: Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC

Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC
Picture: Via MOD

Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC killed in Afghanistan

29 May 11

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin and Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC, both from Juliet Company 42 Commando Royal Marines, were killed in Afghanistan on Friday 27 May 2011.

Lieutenant Augustin and Marine Alexander were killed by an Improvised Explosive Device whilst on patrol in the Loy Mandeh area of the Nad-e Ali district in Helmand province.

The patrol, which was led by Lieutenant Augustin, was tasked to disrupt insurgent activity in their perceived rear area and provide depth to the Clear, Hold, Build Operation occurring to the North in Loy Mandeh Kalay further to expand the influence of the Government of Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Oliver Richard Augustin


Lieutenant Ollie Augustin Royal Marines was born in Kent on 16 March 1988. He attended Dartford Grammar School before leaving aged 18 to spend a year travelling.

During this time he spent 2 months volunteering at a school in Kenya before travelling down to South Africa through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana. He then flew on to Australia where he spent 6 months working, before concluding his travels in New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii.

On return, whilst undergoing the application procedure to join the Royal Marines as a Commissioned Officer, he studied at Bexley College and was employed as a fitter and plasterer.

Lieutenant Augustin Royal Marines began Officer Training in September 2009, passing fit for duty in December 2010. His first appointment was in Command of Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines.

He leaves behind his father Sean, his mother Jane and his sister Sarah.

Lieutenant Augustin's mum and dad, Jane and Sean, said:

"Ollie was a much loved and cherished son. He was a beautiful boy who we were very proud of. He had many friends that he loved and who loved him in return.

"His warmth and humour lit a room and infected all around him. He dealt with people in a thoughtful and compassionate way. His independence and sense of adventure meant that he embraced life and his chosen path.

"Ollie we will all love and miss you forever."

Lieutenant Augustin's sister, Sarah, said:

"Oli, you were a one in a million. You were brave, you were funny and I couldn't have wished for a better brother.

"You were so very special and made a lasting impression on anybody lucky enough to meet you.

"I will love you forever."

Lieutenant Augustin's grandfather Dick, said:

"Lieutenant Oliver Augustin was a handsome, clever, talented young man and my beloved grandson.

"He loved and was loved by his family and friends. He was always cheerful, respectful and kind. He travelled extensively during his gap year but never forgot to send his granddad a card to update his progress.

"Oliver took a commission in the Royal Marines and threw all his energies into showing how much he supported and respected the service.

"His tragic end is hard to bear but I will always remember him with pride and love."

Lieutenant Augustin's Aunt Jane, said:

"For Ollie...

"What can I say about Ollie that hasn't already been said a million times over!

"He was a kind & generous man, warm hearted and full of fun...
"He never tired of life - When we cycled Land's End to John O'Groats at the end of a very long day in Scotland 70 miles or so in, he came back down a hill to see where I'd got to and to cycle back up with me... I remember him saying 'when we finish this challenge what about signing up for another 100 mile race later in the month?'
The reply I gave wasn't very printable, but he just smiled back at me & said he would ask me again after breakfast tomorrow!

"That irrepressible love of life is what I will always take with me & the piece of my heart I have lost with Ollie's passing...

"Love always, Jane xx"

Lieutenant Augustin's Aunty Alison, said:

"For Ollie...

"Ollie I loved you for your humour, your wit, your sense of fun, your bravado and the legendry 'Augustin' sarcasm.

"You now leave us with a huge hole in our lives, we are all so proud of you, we love you and will miss you forever.

"Love Alison xx"

Lieutenant Augustin's Uncle Adam, said:

"I am not sure whether I don't know what to say, or if I just don't know where to start, such is the hole the loss of Oliver has left in the lives of everyone who has ever known him. Not just his family, but also his friends and, I am sure, his colleagues.

"His love of his sister Sarah, mum Jane, his dad Sean and Grandfather Dick was obvious to everyone, but for me the love of life that he demonstrated over the last few years is what made him truly remarkable.

"His mischievous grin; as he witnessed me convince his father to buy an MV August motorcycle on a whim. How he boldly strode off into Africa and around the world on a gap year, or how he just calmly rode pillion as I rode the Antrim coast road as hard as I could, nothing appeared to faze him.

"It was with this same apparent calmness he joined the Royal Marines. He gave his all during training. He didn't just want to pass he wanted to excel and I cannot begin to tell you how proud I was of him when he was awarded his Green Commando beret.

"I spoke to him before he joined his Unit at 42 Commando and he told me that he had met his new Sergeant during his training. The Sergeant had bemoaned having "no nothing Captains" in charge of the Fire Support Group and Oliver worried how he would react to a real "no nothing Lieutenant" straight out of training! He hoped his Sergeant didn't remember the conversation or indeed him, but his new goal was to learn everything from his men and become the best Royal Marine that he could be.

"I spoke to him again just before he was posted to Afghanistan and his concerns solely revolved around his mum and sister, whose hearts were breaking, and also for his men. He was determined not to let his men down and, despite his short time with them, he held them all in the greatest regard. He had great stories of training and was looking forward to testing himself in what he had trained so hard for.

"I showed him a text that I had been sent that said;

"Life is not a game that you aim to get to the finishing line in pristine condition, but one that you should slide over the line, battered, covered in dirt and grazes, but with a huge grin and shouting, Wow what a ride!"

"Oliver laughed and agreed, and then we hid it from his mum and the rest of the table.

"I will miss Oliver for the rest of my life, but I will try every day to live up to his example and will chase every opportunity and challenge with the same drive that he did.

"We will remember you and every one of the 367 that went before and those who will unfortunately follow."

Lieutenant Augustin's Aunt and Uncle, Sally and David Barnes, said:

"How do you come to terms with the tragic death of such a talented, good looking, family minded young man?

"Oliver 'Ollie' Augustine achieved so much during his short active life. You cannot do him justice in a few short paragraphs. He touched the hearts of so many with his warm easy going personality and sense of humour.

"He took a year off from studying and travelled the world. He helped at a school in Africa. He returned home a few days early to suprise his mum on her birthday.

"Back in England he raised money for the African school by successfully cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats with his dad and aunt.

"He helped his sister to train for a successful career in the police force by testing her knowledge and allowing her to practice handcuffing him for a small fee.

"Ollie made light of the arduous training as a marine commando and wore his green beret and uniform with pride. We are all equally proud of him.

"It is hard to believe after all that training and dedication he was only able to complete 107 days of active service.

"The sadness of his death is unbearably painful. We just hope and pray our happy memories of Ollie will sustain us for the future, knowing he died what he wanted to do.

"He is greatly missed."

Lieutenant Augustin's cousin, Mark, said:


"A truly remarkable young man who had achieved so much during such a short life.

"We are all shocked and devastated at the news of his untimely death. My overriding memories of him will be of a funny, talented, driven, committed and fun-loving man, loved and admired by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed by all his family, friends and colleagues alike.

"We are forever proud of him, and he'll be forever in our hearts...

Viks, a family friend, said:


"I cannot believe that you will no longer be in our lives. You will be missed...

"Dinners out will never be the same without your mischievous grin, digging at someone or another. The world we inhabit is much diminished by your absence, you could have turned your hand to be anything.

"Good, honorable, loyal and true.

"Love Viks xx"

Lieutenant Augustin's best friends from home, said:

"To Ollie,

"Our best friend, our hero, our idol.

"He was everything he wanted to be – and more! He touched the lives of everyone he met. He stood out from the crowd and always put others before himself.

"So much to do in so little time! He will be sorely missed by us all."

Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison MBE, Commanding Officer 42 Commando Royal Marines, Coalition Force Nad-e Ali (North), said:

"Lieutenant Ollie Augustin Royal Marines was a Troop Commander with considerable potential and a bright future ahead of him. Despite only passing for duty a matter of months ago, he had already made a considerable impact within Juliet Company and across the Unit. A charismatic young man, with a keen sense of humour, he was the life and soul of any gathering and he touched all those who had dealings with him.

"As a leader he was inspirational, passionate and selfless, putting the welfare of his men above all else - they adored him and looked to him for direction, but looked on him as a brother in arms. As a Marine he was utterly professional, dependable and tactically astute. At the time his life was tragically cut short he was characteristically leading from the front, taking the fight to the enemy; his audacity, commitment and courage clear for all to see.

"42 Commando have lost a brave, young warrior; the loss is keenly felt and the pain cuts deep. However, our grief is nothing compared to that of his loved ones; at this difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Jane, his father Sean and his sister Sarah."

Major Steven McCulley Royal Marines, Officer Commanding Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Lieutenant Ollie Augustin was the epitome of a Royal Marines Officer. Selected from training to Command a Fire Support Group due to his professional ability. I was immediately impressed by the way in which no task was too difficult or onerous for him. Utterly reliable, he clearly relished leading Marines and his lads loved him. It is truly tragic that his life has been cut short and I will always remember him."

Captain Rob Garside Royal Marines, Company Intelligence Officer, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Having handed the Juliet Company Fire Support Group to Ollie Augustin, I was soon aware I passed on the Troop to a very professional, focussed and driven Royal Marines Commando Officer. He took his job very seriously and he looked after and cared for those under his command. A quality individual, an impressive Bootneck Young Officer, he will be sorely missed by all those who worked with him and knew him."

Lieutenant Lloyd Fallesen Royal Marines, Officer Commanding 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Ollie Augustin was a one in a million friend who will be missed by all that knew him. His ability to make all around him smile, even in the most adverse circumstances, meant that he was always someone you could turn to if you needed cheering up. A loyal friend, Ollie was someone you could count on regardless of the circumstances. This also earned him the respect of his men, a job which he not only loved, but lived and breathed. Ollie was a true Bootneck through and through, he will be sorely missed by all that knew him."

Lieutenant Tom Phillips Royal Marines, Officer Commanding 2 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Ollie was simply an inspiration to those who had the pleasure of working with him. Always cheerful with a terrific sense of humour, he was a bastion of morale whenever times seemed hard. He was immensely proud of the job he did and the men that he had the honour of leading. His sense of humour was only topped by his professionalism and diligence in anything he did in life. He was a dear friend who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him."

Sergeant Rob Driscoll, Multiple Commander 3, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"I had the privilege to get to know Lieutenant Augustin, Boss, Ollie, during the latter half of Pre-Deployment Training and during Operation HERRICK 14. As a young officer he was top of his game, both physically and mentally. He was a natural leader who quickly gained the respect of the men under his charge. As a fellow Multiple Commander we deployed together and Ollie was always at the centre of any banter and had a quick wit about him. He will be sorely missed by Juliet Company and my thoughts are with his friends and family."

Marine Jason Badham, 1 Troop, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Lieutenant Augustin aka ‘Small Boss' was such a nice bloke and would always dig out blind to help his oppos (opposite numbers). He was a brilliant Troop Commander and will be greatly missed."

Marine Michael Chapman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"‘The Boss'; I think he enjoyed being called that and rightly so. He was easily the best all round Boss I have ever worked with. What a great bloke. He could easily be classed as one of the lads from his constant funnies, positive attitude and ‘dit' spinning. He really knew how the lads worked and had an endless amount of patience with every single person in the Troop. I could easily call him a mate; he was never shy to dig into his deep officer pockets either, e.g. when he joined us in the Fire Support Group accommodation with as much alcohol as he could carry.

"Out on the ground he definitely gave the lads a ‘warm and fuzzy' and I was proud to be under his Command. He was a hands-on Boss who hated the computer but loved the adrenalin rush. I believe he would have excelled in the Corps and definitely saw him in a Special Forces role. He was also known as ‘Boss Biceps' when he first joined us with his shirt sleeves rolled right up high. He could boast he was a very strong minded and physical bloke, and will be missed throughout the Corps."

Marine Louis Nethercott, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Boss Augustin was a professional and organised soldier, an absolute role model for any young Marine. More one of the lads than an Officer; after going ashore several times with him he would never let the lads buy him a wet. An inspiration to me, he will be missed by all the lads in Fire Support Group. A great Boss and an even better mate. Cheers for all the wets, next rounds on me!"

Marine Liam Kelly, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"I can definitely say, and I know Fire Support Group agrees, that the Boss was easily the best Boss you could ask for. He was extremely professional and I always felt safe on the ground with him. He was, through and through one of the lads, always squaring us away and cracking funnies. The Boss was one of the friendliest people I have ever met in the Corps and as a new Boss; he would have gone very far in his career."

Marine Brett Newman, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"‘The Boss', as he was known to the lads, was like no other Boss and will never be replaced in any shape or form. He never separated himself from the lads whether we were in the room playing FIFA or chipping in on Sentry; he even came to the Fire Support Group accommodation for parties….a ‘hoofing man'. He used to sit with the lads and open his parcels in front of us, moaning about the value bags his family bought, showing us his single razor he got in every box. Brilliant shield for the lads as we are a bit ‘Over The Top' in all that we do. He was one in a million and will always be remembered."

Marine Sam Magowan, Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, said:

"Boss, you will be missed by all; a brilliant Troop Boss. A massive blow to the Troop. Rest in Peace."

The entire Fire Support Group, Juliet Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines said:

"An inspiration to all who had the pleasure to work with him. A friend first and a Boss second. A tremendous loss to us all. You will not be forgotten. May you Rest in Peace."

Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said:

"Lieutenant Augustin was a talented young officer with a promising career in the Royal Marines. He was a natural leader who led from the front and set a fine example for those that he worked with. His death is a loss to the Service and my thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time."


Always remembered. Always honoured.

Rest in Peace.

[For more on Marine Samuel Giles William Alexander MC go here.]