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Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert L. Gilbert II

Died March 16, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

28, of Richfield, Ohio; assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died March 16 of wounds sustained March 8 while supporting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan.

Marine from Ohio dies after Afghanistan ambush

The Associated Press

RICHFIELD, Ohio — A Marine from Ohio has died from injuries suffered in combat in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced March 18.

Gunnery Sgt. Robert Gilbert II of Richfield died March 16, his 28th birthday, at a Maryland hospital.

Officials said he was wounded March 8 while supporting combat operations in Badghis province.

Gilbert was assigned to the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Gilbert was on his fifth tour of duty and his second in Afghanistan, family friend Anthony Maroon said.

Maroon said Gilbert’s platoon was ambushed and his helmet was pierced by a shot from a high-powered rifle. He said Gilbert had been shot a couple weeks earlier, but a bullet-proof vest had stopped the bullet.

Gilbert “thought the Taliban was after him and his days were numbered,” Maroon said.

Gilbert was a 2000 graduate of Revere High School. Maroon said Gilbert joined the Marines when he was 18 and that he always wanted to fight for his country.

Revere High art teacher Bob Pierson said Gilbert was friendly and likable and always wanted to be a Marine.

“When you looked at him, you could see him as one. He was a tall, lean muscular kid. He also stood really proud,” Pierson said.

Gilbert’s father, a Richfield police officer, was with him at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., when he died.

Gunny had deployed 5 times

The Associated Press

Rob Gilbert loved life. He also loved the Marines and put his life at risk each of the five times he was deployed overseas.

If ever he was unable to enjoy life and required machines to stay alive, he no longer wanted to live, he told his father in September.

“If we can’t smoke cigars, drink a beer and ride motorcycles, let me go,” he said.

Gilbert, a Marine for nearly 10 years, was shot in the head during a March 8 attack in Badghis Province, Afghanistan. He fell into a coma. About a week later at a Maryland hospital, his father reluctantly honored his request and had life support removed.

Gilbert held on until March 16, his 28th birthday. He was surrounded by family, friends and fellow Marines. His father, Bob Gilbert, had his hand on his son’s chest and felt his last heartbeat.

“My last words to my Robert were, ‘I Love You. Thank you for being my son. I enjoyed the twenty eight years, to the month and day, we have shared together,’” his father posted on Facebook.

Gilbert, of Richfield, Ohio, was a 2000 graduate of Revere High School. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

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