Our View: The most difficult Thanksgiving ever
For one Truckee family, this Thanksgiving had to have been the most difficult ever ” perhaps even the most thankless.
That’s because on Tuesday, Kent and Monica Bocks of Truckee, and Peggy Bocks of Troy, Mich., said goodbye to their son, Marine Sgt. Phillip Bocks. Along with his family, Phillip, 28, was sent off by his comrades and friends at a memorial at the Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport over on the east side of the Sierra ” an area he loved.
Phillip was killed in action during an ambush in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province along with five other Marines on Nov. 9, after meeting with village elders to make sure the villagers had enough medical supplies and food.
But by all accounts, Phillip, and undoubtedly the other Marines, was doing what he wanted to do.
The memorial was attended by a standing-room-only crowd of family, friends and military personnel, who gathered to remember Bocks from his time living and working in the Walker/Coleville communities.
“This is a celebration of his character … and he was one,” said Chaplain Wayne Hall. “He loved the mountains, to ski, to be in the woods. Most of all he loved freedom and he loved the service.”
But for all the sadness, memories of Phillip must have been a thankful addition, albeit small, for a family during a sorrowful time. The recollection of happier times Tuesday all had a common thread ” Phillip’s knack for volunteering.
Marines spoke of Phillip’s request to work in the stables, how he wanted to work with the animals and use them in the rugged back country. He volunteered for training as a farrier, earning the title of “Mule Pack Master,” wrote Jonni Hill, a reporter with the Record Courier newspaper in Gardnerville, who covered the memorial.
Phillip also volunteered to be a member of an embedded training team, working to train the Afghan army and was deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty in July.
“He died doing what he wanted to do,” Kent Bocks said of his only son. “It was his decision, he didn’t have to go, he felt he was where he needed to be.”
Phillip was born in Oakland County, Mich. His family moved to Truckee from Michigan when he was in seventh grade. He attended Truckee schools until the 11th grade when he returned to Michigan and graduated high school. He enlisted in the Marine Corps May 9, 2000.
“He will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered, half in Michigan and half in the mountains he loved so much near MWTC,” his father said.
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