NEW YORK --
Marines from Brooklyn’s 6th Communication Battalion held a dedication ceremony in honor of two fallen Reserve Marines from their unit at Floyd Bennett Field, Aug. 30, 2016.
Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Curtin and Gunnery Sgt. Matthew D. Garvey, first responders with the city’s police and fire departments, died to rescue others at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
To honor their memory, the Marines renamed their Reserve center the Curtin Garvey Complex. They also dedicated a monument using steel taken from the World Trade Center as a tribute to the Marines as well as the first responders who sacrificed their lives on 9/11.
“It is important that we come out here and honor our fallen Marines and the sacrifices they made,” said Staff Sgt. John A. Grigg, inspector-instructor cyber systems chief for Direct Support Company, 6th Comm. Bn. “It helps us remember who we are and who we are supposed to be.”
Curtin served 12 years on active duty before becoming a Reserve Marine. He joined the New York Police Department in January 1988 and spent most of his career with the Emergency Service Squad units. Curtin died rescuing victims trapped in the North tower of the World Trade Center.
"Sgt. Maj. Curtin was my company first sergeant when I checked into 6th Comm. in 1995," said Master Sgt. Pasquale Foresta, currently the liaison staff noncommissioned officer in charge for Chemical Biological Incident Response Force. "He was a large imposing man, but he took care of his Marines. I remember wandering the halls, completely lost, when I ran into him for the first time. He had never met me before, but wanted to know all about who I was. It had an impact on me and made me feel part of the unit right away."
Garvey served 10 years on active duty and served in Beirut, Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He joined the New York Fire Department in 1995 and served with the elite Squad 1. On 9/11, Garvey and his squad members aided in the evacuation of thousands of people from the South tower of the World Trade Center. The tower collapsed and killed Garvey and his entire squad.
“Gunnery Sgt. Garvey was my platoon sergeant and he was a Marines’ Marine,” Foresta said. “He is what anyone would expect a Marine to be. I’ve spent nearly 15 years living in his shadow.”
Curtin and Garvey serve as an example of how Reserves Marines from various backgrounds and occupations answered the call to defend the country during and after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“It is important for young Marines coming up to understand how their roles might change,” Foresta said. “We have Marines who died on 9/11, but we also have Marines who died serving overseas afterwards as well.”
Marines from 6th Comm. have supported both operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, showcasing how Reserve Marines have been willing to trade in their civilian jobs to augment and support the active component in defense of the nation.
“As Reserve Marines we wear two hats, we have to maintain a civilian life and a Marine Corps life,” said Sgt. Lee Falcon, ground radio repair section head for Headquarters and Service Company, 6th Comm. “A lot of new Marines come in and they don’t know what happened here or any of the history of the battalion, so it is good to actually impart that to them through events like this.”
The memorial is a representation of the sacrifices Reserve Marines have made for their country for over 100 years. The ceremony was held as part of a series of events taking place in New York to recognize the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Centennial and honor the bond Reserve Marines share with their communities.