Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lance Cpl. Cody Robert Stanley

Cody Robert Stanley was born December 17, 1987 in San Marcos, Texas. He died on October 28, 2009 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED land mine while on patrol.

Lance Cpl. Stanley joined the Marine Corps a few months after graduation from Smithville, Texas High School in 2006. He was a rifleman serving with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and was stationed at Twenty Nine Palms, California. He had served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan in early October 2009.

His military decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal.

Cody, his brother and his parents resided in Rosanky on the Double D Ranch for 18 1/2 years. It was in that awesome setting that Cody and his brother were raised into the fine young men they are today. They were the best of friends as well as brothers. They did all of the things that country boys love to do, including fishing, hunting, riding 4-wheelers, chasing girls and drinking beer.

Lance Cpl. Stanley made his final trip home on Wednesday, November 4 when his casket was flown by private charter jet to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Dozens of Patriot Guard Riders from all over central Texas were at the airport to honor this fallen hero by forming a line of American flags as the flight arrived. They escorted the hearse carrying the casket, to a funeral home in Lockhart, Texas. As the procession drove through downtown Lockhart, hundreds of residents lined the city streets, holding signs and American flags.

On Friday, November 6, 2009, scores of Riders from all over central and south Texas converged on the First Baptist Church in Smithville, Texas for funeral services of Lance Cpl. Stanley. The hearse delivered his casket to the church at 9:00 a.m. on a foggy morning. The casket was unloaded and carried into the church by six United States Marines wearing dress blue uniforms. As the movement occurred, the Patriot Guard Riders formed a U-shaped line of American flags and stood at attention in his honor.

The Riders then formed flag lines along the street in front of the church, and at the entrance to a nearby fellowship hall, to welcome family and friends as they arrived for the services, held at 10:00 a.m. In the fellowship hall, a slide show was displaying photos of this young man taken throughout his, to short, life.

At the conclusion of the hour and half services, the flag draped casket was carried from the church by the Marines, and placed into the back of a Dodge Ram truck, to be transported to the cemetery. This would be the Texas way!

The Patriot Guards Riders, over 100 strong, rode in the procession with hundreds of mourners for the forty five minute ride to the cemetery. All along the procession route, citizens of all ages lined the streets and highways. As the procession passed Smithville High School, where he had played football for the Tigers, the student body filled the front parking lot. At elementary schools along the way, children stood in front of their schools.

On Sunday, November 1, his friends made and erected signs all along the route from Smithville to the cemetery. The signs dotted the road side for 35 miles.

All over town and along the procession route, American flags were flying at half-staff, including the flag in front of the City Hall.

Once the procession reached the cemetery, the casket was removed from the Dodge Ram truck and carried to the final resting place of Lance Cpl. Stanley. Full military honors were rendered by United States Marines, including three volleys of fire by seven riflemen and the playing of taps.

The Marines folded the flag that had been covering the casket into a tight triangle and presented it to his mother.

Lance Cpl. Cody Robert Stanley was then laid to rest in the shade of a live oak tree in historic Clark's Chapel Cemetery, on Old McMahan Trail. The fog had cleared, the sun was bright, and the sky was blue.

Left to cherish his memory are his mother and father, his younger brother, his grandparents, his great grandmother and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

What it means to be a Marine
by Lance Cpl. Cody Stanley

To me, being a Marine means that you have taken the nation's burdens and put them on your back. The Marine Corps is the nation's reaction force and everyone that has joined since 9/11 knows that this burden is now theirs to bear. Being a Marine also means that you put yourself in harm's way so that others can live the great life that prior Marines have set forth for the United States. Marines set themselves apart from everyone else by taking pride in the fact that they are Marines. Marines set the standards that differentiate them from the other military branches. People look at Marines differently because they have pride in their service...from our cammies, to the way we perform in combat, to kicking butt and taking names. This contributes how the American populace views us and it is every Marine's job to uphold and pass on these standards to their juniors.

Claiming the title of Marine also means that you "step up to the plate" when no one else will and go out of your way to help people. The other day, there was an older man stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. When I saw him, at least three or four cars had passed him by. When I stopped to render assistance, he told me that he was a former Marine and had fought in Korea. He could not thank me enough for my hospitality. This is an example of what a Marine is all about...going out of your way to help others. You know if you have a Marine by your side that lacks intelligence or simply cannot get his crap done right, you take a little time out of your day to extend a helping hand.

As a Marine, you have so many chances to do great things in the world. Marines better themselves every day, whether by knowledge or by doing. We do this because "when the rubber meets the road" a Marine needs to know what to do. You must be able to physically pull that devil out of a humvee that has just been hit and then pull him to safety.The bottom line of being a Marine is, "taking care of yourself and others, do what you are told when you are told to the best of your ability, and then you will have 'being a Marine' down to an art".

With thanks to The Smithville Times for biographical information and photograph.

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  1. What a beautiful tribute! Just one correction, though...he played football for the Tigers, not the Eagles.

    Thanks for creating this blog.

  2. Thanks, Mika. Correction made to show he was a Tiger.