Being killed in the line of duty is a risk all of our American troops take, and when one dies on the battlefield, it affects more than just their families and closest friends. A 19-year-old Marine from northwestern Ohio was killed in Iraq earlier this week, and his death is hitting some people in the Low Country very hard. Staff Sergeant Charles Walker remembers Private First Class Christian Gurtner when he came to Parris Island .
"He was a quiet kid, but he had a lot of heart," said Walker .
News that one of his Marines, who used to call this squad bay home, had been killed, was something this drill instructor never wanted to hear.
"You sit here and you train these kids and they leave, of course, yeah, we know that they're going to war, then all of a sudden gets killed," he said.
Although most recruits think that drill instructors only care about yelling at them, that couldn't be farther from the truth. These are the people directly responsible for making Marines and they take their job to heart.
"After doing this job, I mean when you graduate these recruits, they actually become a part of you, so it's actually like it was my son that was killed," Walker said.
Even though 20,000 recruits walk away from Parris Island as Marines, the death of just one is always a cruel reminder of the risks every Marine takes when they walk on the battle field. Private First Class Christian Gurtner graduated from Parris Island just seven months ago.