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Semper Fidelis

More than a motto, a way of life that distinguishes the Marine Corps bond from any other. It goes beyond teamwork – it is a brotherhood and lasts for life.

Latin for "always faithful," Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.

Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone, and Semper Fi reminds us of that. Once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.  

There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.

"For 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation.  We make Marines and we win battles."
  ~ Gen. Chalres C. Krulak, USMC (CMC): 5 May 1977  

Sgt Thomas Z. Spitzer

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I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which is one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, began in April 2004 to honor our nation's fallen and to provide members of this community a venue to pay their respect to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IGTNT  title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

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Since 2001 we have lost 2335 American troops in Afghanistan and a total of 3454 American and coalition forces.

 
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.    ~ DoD News Release
 

Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 25, 2014 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan
Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas
Thomas Spitzer was a 2009 graduate of Canyon High School where he played defensive end for the Cougers and was a member of the weight-lifting team.  

After graduation Spitzer enlisted in the Marine Corps under the buddy system with his best friend and fellow defensive end and weight lifter, John Farias.  On June 28, 2011 Lance Cpl John Farias died in Helmad province Afghanistan.  

Memorial Bracelet for Lance Cpl John Farias, KIA in Afghanistan in June 2011.
On February 28th LCpl Farias was on Sgt Spitzer's mind as he posted to his facebook page this image of a memorial bracelet engraved with Farias' name, unit and date of death along with the comment: "It's about that time again. Here's to one helluva guardian angel. Love ya bro"

Lance Cpl John Farias was honored by IGTNT in this diary.

LCpl Farias' father, Felix said the two boys were "tight" and joined the Marines on the buddy system.
Thomas was a great kid, always smiling. When we would go visit John at Camp Pendleton (Calif.) Thomas would always stay with us.
John’s mother, Penny Farias, said Spitzer’s parents told them the sad news on Wednesday.
We couldn’t believe it. It was so hard. It’s unbelievable. Joined together and end up together.
Both Marines were serving in the same area of Afghanistan when they were shot and killed.

Felix said Spitzer had just gotten engaged on New Year's Day.

To us, this is a double whammy. They’re together Upstairs.
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Facebook Page is filled with condolences and memories of Sgt. Thomas Spitzer:

Chris Chinni: Thomas was 12 years old and was on an All Star team that I was coaching. One of the first times I spoke to him; I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said "I want to be in the Armed Services, probably Marines". What an amazing answer from a 12 year old. His answers were always "yes sir" or "no sir" and it wasn't fake, because that is who he was. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. He was always smiling.

Sami Springfield: he was a great guy, we a great heart. and his smile could turn anyone's day around. haven't talked to him since John's passing but he most certainly will be missed by myself and countless others who were lucky to know him

Teal Kathleen Albert: Witty, caring, smart, funny, strong, every word you could think of to describe a good strong man that was Thomas. He was always out to turn a frown upside down. He was doing what he loved... he will be greatly missed by so many. Prayers for his family and his fiancé.

Darlene Bell Webber: Tommy and his brother, Nick, mom, Jean and dad, John, are a wonderful family and used to be our neighbors! He will always be a hero and always be remembered! Praying for Jean Bellar Spitzer and her family!

Rene Hernandez: Not a lot of people knew this but Thomas was a soccer fan and played with me growing up until about middle school. He was one of the nicest individuals you could have met and never once would pass judgement on someone. I'm proud to have known Thomas Spitzer. I know he made his mom proud in everything he did.

Sonja Dodd: I am not family, nor did I know this young man, but he was friends and marine buddies with my cousin, John F. Farias, who greeted Sgt. Spitzer in heaven, I'm sure. Thank you for your sacrifice. Condolences and prayers sent to his family.

The Sangin Valley Gun Club Facebook Page, of which Sgt. Spitzer was a member, "is a community comprised of the veterans of Sangin [Helmand province Afghanistan]and the surrounding districts, and serves as a memorial for our fallen."  There were many tributes, prayers and condolences offered in his memory:

Brian Courtney: God Bless you Brother. Stand down, your job on earth is done. We will take over from here. Thank you from a Grateful Nation.

Ryan Hermance: What an honor it was to serve with this young man. May your family find peace. We will celebrate your life and cherish the memories we had with you.

Philip Whitener: In the halls brother, in the halls.

Matthew Mistretta: I went through boot and ITB with spitz. He always was so funny yet super serious when it came to being a Marine. Until Valhalla.

This statement was released to the Marine Times by 1st Lt. Spencer R. Kenyon:

The Marines and sailors of 1st Marine Division mourn the loss of Sgt. Spitzer. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.
In his memory, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the Capitol.

Sgt Thomas Z. Spitzer's personal and service awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the NATO Medal-International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan.

Sgt Thomas Z Spitzer leaves behind his father, John; mother, Jean; and brother, Nick.

~ Source  ~ Source

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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno in 2004 and now is maintained by Sandy on Signal, i dunno, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, Ekaterin, TheFatLadySings, Joy of Fishes, and me, JaxDem.

These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
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