Sgt. Lawrence Tremblay Jr., a health care specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), joined to mourn the loss of his brother.
Tremblay recalls the night he received the news that his brother had died. He had just gotten off work, and he felt something was wrong, but he didn't know what.
The onset of his unexplained emotional overload made him so distraught that he couldn't bring himself to drive home.
Instead, he took a nap in his car and waited for his nerves to calm.
But Tremblay's nerves never calmed; his efforts were disrupted by a phone call that would forever change his life.
"I woke up to my cell phone ringing, and it was my father telling me I needed to come home right now. Instantly I knew something happened to Joey," he said.
"As soon as I got home, there were a bunch of cars in the driveway, and that's when I knew something bad had happened," Tremblay said. "My father came up to me, and he was very upset. That's when he told me that Joey was killed in Iraq by an IED (improvised explosive device)."
Cpl. Joseph Tremblay, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Moundsville, W.Va., and attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, died April 27, 2005, of injuries he suffered when an IED exploded while he was conducting combat operations near Hit, Iraq.
Tremblay said that when his brother's body arrived in Washington, D.C., his coffin was escorted by police all the way to his hometown of New Windsor.
During the three-day wake for his brother, Tremblay observed how the Marine Corps funeral guards acted as they stood guard 24 hours a day, rotating shifts every few hours at the funeral home.
"When I saw the Marines standing at the head and foot of the casket during the wake, you could see that level of discipline that was instilled in them," Tremblay explained. "It was everything I thought the military represents."
He added that the Marines showed compassion and remorse to Family Members and friends during the wake, knowing that they had lost a brother in arms.
That display of discipline and brotherhood would later change Tremblay's life.
Confused by the unexpected loss of his brother, Tremblay started down a dark path. He started drinking excessively to numb the pain, and his job performance was declining because of the stress.
He continued his reckless behavior for a year after his brother's death, but he knew something had to change.
"I woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror, and I was fed up with the choices I was making. So I headed down to the Marine recruiting center and tried to join like my little brother," he said.
The recruiters in his hometown didn't accept Tremblay. They knew about his brother's death and what the Family was going through.
"My dad knew I wanted to join the Marines," he said. "So he talked to all the recruiters in Orange County to not let me join."
Tremblay was not deterred by his father's actions. He said he had to drive over an hour to find a recruiting station that would let him start the process of enlisting.
"I walked into the Army recruiting center and said I wanted to join. The recruiter said I was his favorite type of recruit, because I was motivated and ready to go," he said.
Tremblay had only one job in mind, and that was to be an Army medic.
"If I go in the Army and I save one person's life, their family will not have to go through what my Family and I went through," he said.
Knowing that the news of his enlistment would devastate his Family, Tremblay kept it a secret.
"I hid my enlistment from my parents, until I was in," he said. "I told them I joined the Army as a medic, and they were not happy. They had just put their son in the ground and did not want to relive that experience."
Even though his parents were not happy about his decision, Tremblay knew it would help him through the grieving pro-cess. So on Aug. 24, 2006, he was off to basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga.
"Going to basic training helped keep my mind busy; we were constantly doing training and had very little down time," Tremblay said. "This helped me with the grieving process because my mind was always focused on training."
After basic combat training, he went to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he learned the skills necessary to be a 68W.
The health care specialist is primarily responsible for providing emergency medical treatment, limited primary care, and health protection and evacuation from a point of injury or illness.
After graduating from advanced individual training on Jan. 8, 2007, Tremblay was on his way to his first duty assignment at Fort Riley, Kan.
He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, where he deployed twice to Iraq as a medic on a personal security detachment responsible for protecting the command sergeant major.
While Tremblay's mind was focused on his mission, his Family was focused on him, and his parents were constantly reminded of the loss of their youngest son.
"My mother was always worried about me when I deployed; she said it caused her undue stress," he said. "But, I am just like my brother; it is my life and my choice."
After spending six years in Kansas, Tremblay was ready for another change.
"I wanted to see what the Army had to offer me," he said. "So I volunteered to come to the Army's best-kept secret, Fort Drum."
In December 2012, he arrived for duty with the mountain unit in the North Country.
Tremblay has served with the Wolverines for the last three years, and he plans to continue serving his country.
"I have worked with some of the best Soldiers in the Army at Fort Drum," he said. "The amount of training opportunities and schools on post surpass what I have seen at (my) previous duty station."
While serving the Army over the last nine years has helped Tremblay with the mourning process, his father has taken a different approach.
Tremblay's father, Lawrence Tremblay Sr., built a Marine Corps custom chopper as a tribute to his son and other Marines killed in the Iraq war.
The motorcycle, which Tremblay designed to resemble a Marine in dress blues, has been displayed at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, Va. Tremblay has displayed the bike throughout the country including the Capital Region.
The "Marine Tribute Bike" doesn't carry a brand name; rather it is branded by love and loss.
"My father built the bike as his way of mourning for the loss of his son," he said. "That is his therapy and way of mourning."