Fallen Gaston Co. Marine receives national honors at Arlington Cemetery

Published: Jun. 29, 2011 at 1:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Gaston County Marine who was killed while serving in Afghanistan was laid to rest Tuesday morning at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lance Corporal Nicholas S. O'Brien of Stanley, NC, died Thursday, June 9, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. His friends and family called him "Nic."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen attended the Arlington, Va., service.

The 21-year-old Marine was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, IMarine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

Last week, a memorial service was held at First Assembly of God on South Myrtle School Road in Gastonia.

Prior to the service, O'Brien's body was flown to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and was escorted to the church by various law enforcement agencies as well as the Patriot Guard Riders.

His father, Richard, said O'Brien was a talented high school baseball player who was offered college scholarships to continue playing. He said his son decided when he was about 15 years old to join the Marine Corps.

O'Brien entered active duty during the fall of 2009, and shipped to Afghanistan in March.

He was a 2008 graduate of East Gaston High School in Mt. Holly.

O'Brien is survived by his parents and his sister, Haley.

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