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Lt. Col. Stacie M. Piccinich (left) and Lt. Col. Ian M. Prater (right), Marines with 6th Communication Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, lay a wreath during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the Curtin Garvey Complex, Brooklyn, New York, Aug. 14, 2021. This ceremony was held in honor of the legacy and memory of Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Curtin and Gunnery Sgt. Mathew D. Garvey, Reserve Marines with 6th Communication Battalion, who made the ultimate sacrifice as first responders on September 11, 2001. Curtin, a police officer with the New York City Police Department, and Garvey, a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department, epitomized what it means to be a Reserve Marine, answering the nation's call to serve in uniform while also serving their local communities. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo By Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo

Honoring Heroes: 6th Communication Battalion remembers Reserve Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11

10 Sep 2021 | Cpl. Brendan Mullin Marine Corps Forces Reserves

U.S. Marines with 6th Communication Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, held a memorial ceremony to honor Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Curtin and Gunnery Sgt. Matthew D. Garvey, who heroically gave their lives while serving as emergency response personnel during the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Reserve Marines were among the first responders on that infamous morning, keeping true to their core values: Honor, Courage, Commitment. Paying respects to their memory, Marines laid wreaths at the Curtin Garvey Complex in Brooklyn, New York, the reserve facility that was named in their honor. The senior leaders with 6th Communication Bn. also served lunch to the Marines, firefighters, police officers and other guests at the ceremony. “In 2016, 6th Communication Battalion dedicated the reserve center to Gunnery Sgt. Garvey and Sgt. Maj. Curtin, renaming it the Curtin Garvey Complex, as well as dedicating a monument at the complex,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Pasquale Foresta, who served with both Curtin and Garvey. “Every year since, we’ve held a wreath laying ceremony at the monument, inviting the family members of Curtin and Garvey, as well as Marines, firefighters and police officers that had served with them in the past.”

“Being a Reserve Marine has made me the person that I am.”Master Gunnery Sgt. Pasquale Foresta, 6th Communication Battalion

Curtin served 12 years as an active duty Marine before transitioning into the Marine Corps Reserve, where he continued to serve with 6th Communication Bn. He joined the New York Police Department in Jan., 1988, where he spent most of his career with the Emergency Service Squads unit. Curtin selflessly gave his life while rescuing victims that were trapped in the north tower. “When I checked into 6th Communication Bn. in 1995, it was 1st Sgt. Curtin at the time,” said Foresta. “I remember walking through the hallways of the reserve center, trying to find where I needed to go to complete my check-in process, and I was stopped in the hallway. At the time I didn’t know who he was, and he was so much taller than me I didn’t immediately see his rank. Of course I started stammering, [Curtin] told me to relax and reassured me then pointed me where I needed to go and welcomed me aboard.”

Foresta described Curtin as a, “leader who liked to informally counsel all his Marines, as well as the junior officers in the company.” Garvey was on active duty for 10 years, where he served in Beirut, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When he transitioned to the Marine Reserve, he continued his service with 6th  Communication Bn. He joined the New York Fire Department in 1995, where he served with Squad 1. Garvey and his squad were evacuating the south tower when it collapsed and killed Garvey and his entire squad.

“[Garvey] had the appearance and act of a poster board Marine,” said Foresta. “If you were a Hollywood producer, and you wanted to cast a Marine, you’d pick Garvey.” Foresta recalled serving with Garvey, “He was an intense individual, he had earned the nickname, ‘The Garvinator’ because he was a seemingly indestructible and unstoppable Machine. There was no one in [Headquarters Company] who was faster, stronger, or could perform their duties better than him.” Curtin and Garvey are prime examples of what it means to be a Marine, coming from any background or occupation to answer the Nation’s call to action both during and after the attacks that took place on 9/11.

6th Communication Battalion 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Corbo

“Being a Reserve Marine has made me the person that I am,” said Foresta. “I’ve been standing on those two gentlemen’s shoulders for the last 26 years of my career. I am honored to serve my country and community, and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had from serving in the [Reserve]. I wouldn’t be a firefighter or anywhere I am today without those Marines and the [Reserve].”

Marines, whether reserve or active duty, make sacrifices, not only for their country, but their local communities as well. The memorial served to highlight two exceptional Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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