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Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Mark R. Cannon

Died October 2, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

31, of Lubbock, Texas; assigned to 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii; died Oct. 2 in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Corpsman killed in combat

Staff report

A Navy corpsman killed Tuesday in Afghanistan was a “tender giant” and loved the Marines with whom he served, the sailor’s hometown newspaper reported Thursday.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Mark R. Cannon, 31, of Lubbock, Texas, died from a gunshot to the chest during combat in Afghanistan, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported, while he was attached to 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

The newspaper reported that the 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound Cannon — whose buddies kidded him for being “as big as an ox but half as smart” — enlisted in the Navy because he came from a family of public servants. Cannon’s father, Tom, was a defense attorney and then a judge, and his mother, Becky, founded a local rape crisis center. She died in 2006, six days before Mark shipped out for Iraq.

Behind Cannon’s imposing size was a “tenderness,” Tom Cannon told the Avalanche-Journal, that made him good at his job.

“He had a real tender, soft side to him, which went well with his interest in the medical field. He had that manner that could make people feel good,” his father said.

Cannon joined the Navy in 2003, his record shows, and had advanced to third class in this year’s spring cycle. His awards included a Purple Heart, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

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