Detachment 1328

Wreath-laying honors Silver City Marine

Reprinted here with Sun-News Permission

By Christine Steele / Sun-News Bureau Chief

 

SILVER CITY — Six years after he died, on the anniversary of his death, U.S. Marine Kenneth Christopher Oglesby was honored Saturday with a wreath-laying ceremony at his grave by a newly formed Marine Corps League chapter, named partly for him.

Kenn Oglesby joined the Marines in 1990, when he was 24, his father, Ronald Oglesby said. He had been working odd jobs and working at the mines and wanted something more, his father said. He trained in radio communications at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and served in Desert Storm.

"He was there at the outbreak of the war," his father said.

In Desert Storm, Oglesby was a member of the radio communications team that helped relay the positions of a pinned-down special forces team, effectively helping to get them out of the situation, Ron Oglesby said.

After returning home from Desert Storm in late 1991 or 1992, Kenn Oglesby volunteered to go to Somalia, where he served in 1993.

That was a year of incredible turmoil in Somalia. U.S. troops were sent there to help support the U.N. relief efforts to combat massive starvation in the country. Several battalions of U.S. Marines were deployed to provide security and help with the humanitarian mission, but somewhere, the mission went bad and that led to the Battle of Mogadishu, remembered for the gruesome images of the bodies of U.S. troops being dragged through the streets.

Kenn Oglesby returned from Somalia changed. He got out of the military in 1994. When he

returned home, he didn't talk much about his experiences, his father said.

"He kept a lot inside," Ron Oglesby said.

The two talked some about their military experiences — Ron Oglesby is a purple heart recipient and served as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam.

"But probably not enough," his father said.

Carlos Nevarez met Kenn Oglesby in 2002, after Nevarez moved to Silver City. During the course of their conversations, the two discovered they had both served in the marines in Somalia at the same time, although they hadn't met each other when they were there. That bond helped the two become close friends, Nevarez said.

"We knew what we were going through, as far as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)," Nevarez said. "We could talk to one another."

While Kenn Oglesby was struggling to deal with his experiences, he had begun to reach out for help, just before his death, his father said.

"That's where he was in life when he died," his father said. "He was finally getting some help. He had a tough road, but he had just spent two-and-a-half days up at the Albuquerque VA, then he got home, went to sleep and he died," his father said.

Somewhere along the line, the rumor got started that Kenn Oglesby committed suicide. That isn't true, Ron Oglesby said.

"If nothing else, he loved his two kids," he said.

Bernice Ramos, Kenn Oglesby's ex-wife and the mother of his two children, Lauren, 15, and Aaron, 17, said the two had been friends since they were 11 years old.

On a beautiful Saturday morning, family and friends gathered at Kenn Oglesby's grave for the cemetery at Fort Bayard.

The Gaffney-Oglesby Chapter of the Marine Corps. League honored Oglesby as Nevarez laid a wreath at his friend's grave.

Six years after his death, Kenneth Christopher Oglesby is remembered by his family and friends as a proud Marine, a proud father and someone who loved his family, animals and fishing.

"He was the best dad you could ask for," said son, Aaron.

Christine Steele can be reached at csteele@scsun-news.com; (575) 538-5893, ext. 5802