Potomac News Online | Lance Cpl. Brian A. Medina buried at Arlington

A 20-year-old Marine from Prince William County killed in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 12, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday after a funeral mass at the Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer.

Lance Cpl. Brian A. Medina, killed in action during the invasion of the insurgent-stronghold city, was someone who loved his family, the Marine Corps and his country, said the Rev. Robert McLanahan, the Catholic priest who conducted the service.

“The measure of a life cannot be marked by length of years, but by the quality of those years,” McLanahan said.

Medina graduated from Gar-Field High School in 2002. Like Jesus Christ, Medina came here not to be served, but to serve others, McLanahan told about 100 mourners inside the chapel, a brick and white-steepled 1930s-era church.

The 20-year-old Marine embodied the Corps’ motto “semper fidelis,” which means “always faithful.”

After the service Medina’s family and friends went to his burial plot near several other U.S. service members killed in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. A firing party of seven Marines fired a three-round volley of shots in honor of Medina, before another played “Taps” on a bugle.

Medina was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. He and several other Marines were moving house-to-house while clearing the city of 300,000 on the northern banks of the Euphrates River west of Baghdad of insurgents attacking American troops.

Medina had moved into a house facing a courtyard with other Marines when the group was ambushed. Medina fell in the fighting and fellow Marine Andy Ethridge ran to his aid. The troops called for backup.

Ethridge also was shot but survived. Medina, who was alive when he was taken from the courtyard, died later. Lance Cpl. David M. Branning, 21, of Cockesville, Md., died with Medina.

Ethridge, who is being treated at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., attended Monday’s funeral on crutches. “My grieving is over and my son’s been rested,” Medina’s father, Gregory, 44, said. “I would just like to thank everybody who prayed for my son. Their support was overwhelming and greatly appreciated.”

Gregory Medina and his family were presented with a Gold Star flag, one given by the Gold Star mothers, a group of women who have lost sons in combat. He was also presented with an American flag “on behalf of the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps” by Staff Sgt.

Charles Dorsey, the Marine Corps’ funeral director at Arlington National Cemetery. Dorsey is a graduate of Osbourn Park High School, near Manassas.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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