On July 31, 2011 MARSOC and the SOF community was dealt a terrible blow with the loss of three seasoned Operators in a tragic accident. Their MSOT (Marine Special Operations Team) had just returned from a two-day long HELO operation with their Afghan Commando counterparts when an electrical fire broke out in the team house while they were sleeping. The Marines were in a deep sleep when the smoke overcame them; they never woke up. I was devastated when I received the word from one of my former team members. It was very hard to come to terms with and I still struggle with it. This is no way for any Warrior to die.
Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle, 29
Staff Sgt. Patrick R. Dolphin, 29
Sgt. Dennis E. Kancler, 26
Patrick Dolphin and I served on the same MSOT in 2009-2010, so I want to take the time and talk directly about Pat’s influence on me. Pat was a leader, a Patriot and most importantly, a friend.
Pat was the type of guy that other men looked up to. Cool and calm in every situation, even as rounds and RPGs were streaking overhead. No matter how shitty of a situation the team found themselves in, Pat always made the best of it. There was nothing he enjoyed more than being out numbered, out gunned and on the ropes. He thrived in this environment and always came out on top with a drop-pouch full of empty magazines and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
This death was cheap for Pat. A Warrior of his caliber deserved much better, Pat deserved to die on the battlefield doing what he love and alongside the people he respected the most. Nothing I can say or do can change what has happened. But I will damn sure do my very best to preserve the memory of his bravery and sacrifice.
Rest in peace brothers, our country is eternally in your debt.
Please take four minutes out of your busy and hectic lives to be inspired and remember Pat. This video was recorded on April 6, 2010 in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan. Pat is the one smoking a cigarette and throwing grenades. * This video contains strong language and violence.
(Top photo: MARSOC Memorial at Camp Lejuene, NC)
Dedicated to the loving memory and sacrifice of GySgt. Robert L. Gilbert & SSgt. Patrick R. Dolphin
Level Zero Heroes | The Story of U.S. Marine SOF in Bala Morghab, Afghanistan
Official Website: www.levelzeroheroes.com