For Marine Corps veteran Amy Forsythe, Camp Pendleton always felt like home – a place she had descended from for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and returned to months later, exhausted and relieved. to see the familiar hills, palm trees and Pacific Ocean. She knows every nook and cranny of the sprawling California base, every training field, building and open field. And throughout her years as a Marine Corps combat correspondent, Forsythe lived and breathed the stories of the men and women who deployed from Camp Pendleton during the Global War on Terror.
Now, more than 25 years after arriving at the sprawling California training facility, Forsythe has released Heroes Live Here: A Tribute to the Marines of Camp Pendleton since 9/11, which tells the history of the base, the war memorials and tributes therein, and the stories of the service members who call Camp Pendleton home.
heroes live here began as a hobby project for Forsythe, who joined the Marines in 1993 and was first stationed at Camp Pendleton two years later. When Forsythe found herself in the sprawling military training facility in 2020 as a public affairs officer, she marveled at the new landmarks she hadn’t been able to see while deployed overseas. She began taking photos of the tributes, intending to share them with Gold Star friends or families who might not have the chance to see them in person.
“A lot of people have come out of the Marine Corps and gone to the winds,” Forsythe said. Coffee or Die Magazine. “They don’t know all the tributes and the legacy that remains here on the base. There is so much rich history here that I love to share with people.
Soon, this passion project became what Forsythe calls his “love letter” to Camp Pendleton.
heroes live here reads like an expanded coffee table book; it features more than 150 photos – many taken by Forsythe – as well as a historical overview of Camp Pendleton, tributes to fallen servicemen and essays written by fellow Marines, including the Cross of Marine. Major Justin Lehew; retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, who served as commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force from 2015 to 2018; and a combat artist tasked with painting Marines on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Interspersed with stories, images and descriptions of the many memorials scattered across Camp Pendleton, from the famous Horno Crosses overlooking the base to the 1st Marines Memorial Park and Garden with a bronze statue of a field cross serving as the centerpiece. Forsythe shows readers the eight white crosses on “K9 Hill” honoring Marines killed in the line of duty while serving as military dog handlers, and the iconic paddles that line the walls of the 1st Headquarters Building. reconnaissance battalion.
Towards the end of heroes live hereForsythe notes that “the war in Afghanistan ended much as it began – with US Marines defending a trail”.
In 2001, Marines of the 15th MEU from Camp Pendleton were among the first troops to deploy to Afghanistan. Two decades later, a new generation of Marines from the base were sent to Kabul to help in the final days of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Nine Marines based at Camp Pendleton and one sailor were among 13 U.S. service members killed by a suicide bomber on Aug. 26, 2021, during the evacuation. Hours after the attack, a temporary memorial had sprung up at the entrance gates to Camp Pendleton.
“It’s really hit this community hard,” Forsythe said, adding that the support Camp Pendleton receives from its surrounding communities is “unlike anything it’s witnessed.”
heroes live here is also a tribute to this community, as well as to the Marines who never returned home, and their families. Forsythe said she hopes her book will preserve the legacy of the post-9/11 generation, provide space for veterans and Gold Star families to reflect, and inspire future generations of Marines.
“I wanted to show that Camp Pendleton is a place where we don’t forget those who were here once,” she said. “They will live here forever because this is truly hallowed ground for training, for combat preparation, and we have a space carved out to honor those who have been lost.”
Heroes Live Here: A Tribute to Marines at Camp Pendleton since 9/11 by Amy Forsythe, Two Palms Media Group, 206 pages, $19.99 Kindle or $49.99 hardcover.
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