Martin C. Evans

Slain Sag Harbor Marine Featured in Corps Graphic Novel

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Early last year, a pair of Marines slain in Iraq – including Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, of Sag Harbor – were posthumously awarded the Navy’s highest award at a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, in Quantico, Va.

The Marine Corps only combat artist was in attendance, and the bravery demonstrated by the two at the hour of their death moved him.

So when the art director for the Marine Corps’ in-house magazine asked the artist, Sgt. Kristopher Battles, whether the two warriors would make a good subject for Marines Magazine’s new graphic novel section aimed at younger enlistees and potential recruits, Battles said yes.

“Danger came quickly and they responded without hesitation,” Battles said. “That’s very inspiring, and that’s what I’m trying to get across to young Marines and to American culture as well.”

Haerter, 19, a 2006 graduate of Sag Harbor’s Pearson High School, had been guarding the entrance of a U.S. Marine encampment in Ramadi with Cpl. Jonathan Yale, of Burkeville, Va. two years ago when a suicide bomber driving a dump truck sped toward them. Though they halted the truck with gunfire, the driver detonated a powerful bomb, killing both of them. Their action is credited with saving the lives of 50 U.S. and Iraqi troops.

Battles said the panels – to be distributed on-line and on posters within the next few weeks, followed by print publication in July – will depict that last six to seven minutes of the lives of Haerter and Yale. The two men had met only moments before their shoulder-to-shoulder death.

“I’m trying to convey the real heroism, not just mythical, Superman kind of heroism, but normal people in extraordinary circumstances, where heroism comes out of them,” said Battles, 41, of Fredericksburg, Va.

Newsday ran a copy of the cartoon panel in its Sunday, April 25th newspaper.

Haerter’s father, Chris Haerter, said he was pleased.

“It’s a great honor for Jordan that they chose to depict his heroic act,” Chris Haerter said. “I remember as a kid seeing things like this in Boys Life.”

The illustrations, done in water color and gouache, depict the guard gate where the attack occurred. Haerter and Yale introduce themselves to each other, are startled by the approaching truck, then open fire forcing it to swerve away. The final panel depicts the medal ceremony at Quantaco, and features portraits of Haerter and Yale being saluted by fellow Marines.

The Marines began using combat artists in 1942, as a way of keeping the public informed about the corps wartime exploits. After being deactivated, the combat art program had a rebirth during the Vietnam War.

The graphic novel section was added to the quarterly magazine for the first time in its last edition, said the magazine’s art director, Sgt. Paul Kane. Kane said the Marines distribute about 80,000 print copies in recruiting stations and military installations

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