Garrett Tucker Lawton
Captain, United States Marine Corps
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 669-08
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Captain Garrett T. Lawton, 31, of Beaufort, South Carolina, died August 4, 2008, while supporting combat operations in Herat province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
For additional background information on this
Marine, news media representatives may contact the U.S. Marine Corps Forces
Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 450-6499.
A Marine aviator working with a Special Operations infantry unit from Camp Lejeune was killed in Afghanistan on Monday.
Captain Garrett T. Lawton, 31, of Sneads Ferry died after being wounded in an attack in Herat province, according to the Pentagon.
Lawton was a weapons systems operator on F/A-18D jets but had been assigned to ground duty with the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, said Captain Michael W. Armistead, a spokesman for Marine Special Operations Command.
It's unclear precisely what Lawton's role was, but such assignments are routine because ground units need liaisons with aviation units, and experts who can call in air support, Armistead said.
Lawton's family was told that he was riding in a tank that was struck by some sort of explosion, said his father-in-law, Andy Hodgen, of Tampa, Forida.
"It was some kind of fluke," Hodgen said. "Something exploded -- they're not sure if it was a bomb or some other sort of attack -- but he was the only one killed."
Hodgen was en route Wednesday to comfort his daughter, Trish, and two grandsons, ages 6 and 4.
Lawton had served in Iraq, where he flew combat missions, Hodgen said.
His decorations include seven Air Medals, two
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Navy Unit Commendation, a Navy
Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the
Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal and three Sea Service
Preliminary plans are being made to honor a Marine originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Captain Garrett T. Lawton was killed Monday while working with the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in Herat province, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.
Lawton was 31 and leaves behind his wife Trish and their two sons, 4 and 6.
He joined the Marines in June 1996 and trained to become an F/A-18D Hornet Weapons System Operator. Lawton was promoted to Captain in 2004 and joined the Marines Special Operations Command in 2007.
Captain Lawton was based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and lived with his family in Sneads Ferry, a small village just across the New River from the Marine base.
The aviation officer was assigned to ground duty with the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion.
Jennifer Morton, a neighbor of the Lawton family, said Lawton's parents and family live in Beaufort, South Carolina, so she believed that any event in honor of Lawton will be there.
The community of Sneads Ferry was attempting to plan a gathering in Captain Lawton's honor but nothing has been confirmed.
Lawton's wife Trish is a stay-at-home mom who teaches aerobics in her spare time and recently began teaching Zumba, Latin based dance aerobics. Trish has been teaching aerobics since high school. She celebrated a birthday last month.
A relative at the Lawton home said the family was doing "OK under the circumstances."
Captain Lawton's decorations include seven
Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Navy Unit Commendation,
a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal,
the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War
on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and a
More than 200 people -- including upward of 100 active-duty Marines, sailors, and airmen -- crammed into the chapel at Marine Corps Air Station on Thursday to say goodbye to a man described by many as an American hero.
Captain Garrett Tucker Lawton, a Beaufort-born Marine, died August 4, 2008, of wounds suffered in an improvised explosive device attack in the western Afghan province of Herat.
Many who attended the service -- servicemen and civilians alike -- wiped tears from their eyes as Trisha Lawton,Garrett Lawton's widow, stepped to the lectern and carefully unfolded a yellow piece of paper, reading aloud a note she hoped never to write.
"I'll always be proud to be the wife of a United States Marine," she said, fighting back tears. "He was the type of man who always gave me everything I needed. He was my soul mate."Trish and Garrett Lawton were married for eight years, and have two sons, Ryan, 6, and Caden, 4.
Those who knew Lawton held him in the highest esteem, said his sister, Kenna Hubai.
"He was the best human being I've ever known," she said. "It seems like everyone always has wonderful things to say about people when they die, even if they're not all true, but it is true for Garrett. He was a wonderful man, father, husband, son, brother and Marine."
Those who eulogized Lawton spoke of his compassion, his dedication to his friends and family, and his sense of humor, which included a story from a college friend who spoke of frequent hallway fire-extinguisher battles and the time when Lawton requested that someone punch him in the face to ensure that he was tough enough for the Corps. Lawton graduated from the University of West Virginia in 1999 with degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering.
Lawton served as an F-18 weapons and sensors officer and an air officer with 2nd Marine Special Operations Batallion,cq stationed out of Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
Born in Beaufort but only residing here until he was 4, Lawton returned to the Lowcountry in 2003, when he was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort with the Bengals of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 244. He saw one combat deployment to Al Asad, Iraq, out of MCAS Beaufort and was promoted to Captain while in Beaufort, according to the air station. Lawton joined Special Operations Battalion in February 2007, the Corps said.
Lawton was twice awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat -- one for the incident that resulted in his death, and another for injuries he sustained in an IED attack in May.
Lawton's body will be cremated and his ashes
spread at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
By Mark Berman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Garrett Lawton's parents came with him to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in December 1999 when he was commissioned as a Marine Second Lieutenant. They pinned his bars on and then, per tradition, Lawton proudly presented a silver dollar to the Staff Sergeant who was the first to salute the new officer.
Yesterday, Lawton's family and friends returned to Arlington to honor him. This time, it was for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Captain Garrett T. Lawton, 31, died August 4, 2008, in Herat Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle hit a makeshift bomb, family said.
Lawton was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, but moved to Washington state when he was 2 with his mother and Cal Peters. Peters married Lawton's mother but did not formally adopt the boy out of respect to Lawton's biological father, David Lawton, but Peters said Garrett was his "best friend" and "hero."
"I think it was important to him to contribute," Peters said in an emotional interview this week. "Garrett always talked about the greater good.
"None of us are angry or bitter," Peters said. "When he graduated from college, he said, 'I could never sit in an office with a shirt and tie.' This is exactly what he wanted to do."
Peters said Lawton was a dream child, never arguing or needing to be told twice to do something. Shortly after moving to Washington, Peters joined the Marine Corps. As a result, Lawton lived all over the world, bouncing from Seattle to Virginia, North Carolina, California, Germany and Japan.
Lawton had roots in the Washington, D.C., region, having graduated from Herndon High School in 1995 before receiving dual degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from West Virginia University in 1999. But he knew he wanted to be a Marine, family said.
"He didn't do it because of me," Peters said. "He loved flying, and he wanted the Marine Corps. We take some comfort in that."
Lawton was meticulous but never took himself too seriously. He had an infectious laugh and could recite a bevy of movie lines. Despite winning academic awards and being voted "Most Popular" and "Most Likely to Succeed," he was always humble, Peters said.
His humility continued through his service. On May 29, 2008, Lawton was wounded trying to save a soldier trapped in a burning car after a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Afghanistan. His arm and face were burned, and he was recommended for the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. But it was only after prodding that he told Peters about it -- a month later.
Lawton served a tour in Iraq in 2005 and had volunteered for the Afghanistan assignment.
But the most important things in his life were his wife and sons, Peters said. He met and married Trisha while in flight school. They were married in November 2001, and their son Ryan was born the next year. Their second son, Caden, followed two years later.
Lawton's final e-mail to Peters came August 2, 2008. As with every e-mail they exchanged, Lawton signed off with, "I love you."
"So that's the last thing he said. 'I love you. G,' " said Peters, his voice choked with emotion.
"He was the only man younger than me that I ever looked up to," Peters said. "Everything he did, he did well."
LAWTON, GARRETT TUCKER
Posted: 14 August 2008 Updated: 17 August 2008 Updated: 5 December 2008 Updated: 7 December 2008 Updated: 8 December 2008 Updated: 9 December 2008 Updated: 19 April 2009
Photo Courtesy of Holly, April 2009