Lance Cpl. Shane Robert Martin, 23, of Spring, Texas, killed in action July 29 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Lindsay Wise Houston Chronicle:In 2007, Shane Robert Martin decided to quit art school and join the Marine Corps.
He called from Afghanistan last week and asked his parents to send him some of his old art supplies. He said the stark beauty of the central Asian country had inspired him to draw again.
"The irony is, here you have a kid who was as tough as anything, who was a Reconnaissance Marine, but he could stop for a moment and see the beauty of the people and the land around him, and there's something so poignant about that," said his aunt, Amanda Brock. "You know, he lost his life in that beauty."
The 23-year-old Marine lance corporal from Spring died during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Thursday. He was assigned to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine officials said Martin was driving a light armored vehicle on patrol when a roadside bomb exploded and the vehicle flipped. Martin died of head trauma. read
GOOD SOLDIERS fallen heroes blog
Wife eulogizes Spring resident who was killed in Afghanistan
Aug. 10, 2010, 1:47PM
On Monday, hundreds of mourners attended a funeral Mass for Martin at the Catholic church in the 19200 block of Tomball Parkway. After the service, Patriot Guard Riders and law enforcement officials escorted the Marine's casket to Houston National Cemetery for burial.
"Shane was my greatest love and my best friend," Lauren said in a eulogy she delivered Monday morning. Her voice broke, but she fought through tears to get the words out. "He is my soulmate," she said. "He was my protector and always wanted me to have what made me happy."
Lauren never felt anything bad could happen to her while her husband was with her.
"Now he will have to watch over me from a distance," she said.
She promised her husband to live her life as fully as she can.
"I am so proud of you," Lauren said. "I love you, handsome. Wait for me."
The Marine's sister, 14-year-old Diane Wallace, also spoke during the service. The teenager said she knows that her big brother, protective by nature, will continue looking out for her from heaven.
"It's like he is my own personal guardian angel," she said.
In the days since her brother's death, Diane said, vivid memories of growing up together on the family's ranch keep flashing through her mind.
"I just want to press pause and hold onto those moments forever," she said.
Diane said she misses her brother's voice, his reassuring presence, and his crushing bear hugs.
"I want to give people hugs like Shane did, because he made people feel special, and I want to do that, too," she said.
"It's as if he had his own magnetic field," she added. "Everyone wanted to be around him."
Martin was born in Durban, South Africa, on Sept. 9, 1986. His family moved to a ranch in Burton when he was 12 and later to Spring, where he met his future wife in an architectural graphics class at Klein Collins. The couple graduated in 2005, and Martin attended The Art Institute of Houston before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2007. He became an American citizen during his first combat tour in Iraq from December 2008 to April 2009.
The Marine's close-knit family in Houston last saw him three months ago, when Martin came home to visit before deploying to Afghanistan in May. He had expected to return to the U.S. around Thanksgiving.