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Marines honor Stultz, family with 'paddle'

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Marine Sgt. Graig Fraser stands as Kimberly Stultz readies to address the crowd at Forest Park Thursday. [Order this photo]
Thursday was a time for fellowship, a time for remembrance.

Members of the United States Marine 3rd Reconnaissance Team came to Brazil's Forest Park for a "Paddle Party," in honor of Marine Cpl. Gregory Scott Stultz, who died in the line of duty while stationed in Afghanistan in February.

The Marines presented the Stultz family with an "oar" paddle, a Marine tradition dating back to World War II.

Stultz' team leader, Sgt. Graig Fraser, said the Marine Raiders started the tradition.

"It's something only Recon Marines do," Fraser said. "Not all Marines get a paddle. It's an honored tradition."

The team stained and wrapped the paddle in Stultz' honor.

Several family members and friends gathered underneath a shelter at the park to pay tribute to Stultz, who graduated from Northview High School in 2006.

Prior to giving the paddle to the family, each Marine in attendance took the oar and honored Stultz by sharing memories.

Capt. Jordan Jones, who was Stultz' platoon commander and is an avid New Orleans Saints' fan, said he had the opportunity to watch the Super Bowl this year with the Brazil native.

Stultz was a rabid Indianapolis Colts' fan.

"As a Marine, Greg was the ultimate professional," Jones told the audience.

Fighting back tears, Fraser was the last Marine to speak.

"I was 5-feet from (Stultz) that day," Fraser said, referring to Feb. 19, the day Stultz was wounded. "But he didn't flinch. He was a warrior.

"Ever since Feb. 19, I think about him every day. I'm better for having known him. It was inspiring to work next to him."

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I am really proud of the fraternity that us Devil Dogs enjoy. I really respect those who traveled to be there for the family. Semper Fi.

-- Posted by Conservative Dad on Thu, Jul 8, 2010, at 9:06 PM

What a great tribute to both Greg and his family. I agree with Conservative Dad, I too belong to that Fraternity and days like today even with the sorrow of Greg's loss it's good to know that we still take care of our own. Semper Fi

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Thu, Jul 8, 2010, at 11:50 PM

"The Few The Proud The Marines! OORAH Force Recon Marine Corps Devil Dogs. Reading this you make me Proud. I wish the utmost in respect and Honor to Mrs Stultz and her family.

Gunnery Sgt. S.P. Okulovich

Brazil High School Class of 1978

USMC 1978-2001

-- Posted by GySgt0660 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 6:17 AM

I'm very happy for all the support our community has given to this soldier's family

-- Posted by ape1 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 11:55 AM

I'm very happy for all the support our community has given to this soldier's family

-- Posted by ape1 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 11:55 AM

I am VERY proud to see this tribute in our community. I didn't know this young man but I am grateful for him and all others who are serving military service for us. My condolences and thanks go out to his family as well.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 4:07 PM

I know that paddel would have had great sentimental value to Cpl Stultz. The two I have hanging in my house sure do.

-- Posted by lhughes39 on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 6:37 PM

The Lord has purpose in everything. The way this community has supported Kim and her family, through all of this, shows that there is so much good in this town. My prayers are with you.

-- Posted by luvmylife9295 on Sat, Jul 10, 2010, at 8:30 AM

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