Las Vegans Pay Homage to Marines Killed in Hawthorne - 8 News NOW

Las Vegans Pay Homage to Marines Killed in Hawthorne

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LAS VEGAS -- Hearts are heavy at a small bar in Chinatown Las Vegas. The Leatherneck Club is where Marines, young and old, share stories of combat over a cold beer. This time, they are raising their mugs in honor of seven Marines they never met.

The flag at Leatherneck's was lowered to half-staff after it was learned that seven Marines lost their lives during a training mission in Hawthorne, Nevada. Even for Marines, trained to be as tough as nails, the Hawthorne tragedy brought tears to their eyes.

A patron walking into the Leatherneck for the first time may not know whether to order a beer or drop to the floor and do 20 pushups.

"We have a lot of great Marines in here," bar manager Greg Chavez said.

He may be civilian, but everyone else is 100 percent Marine.

"This bar is a Marine bar," said Gerald Baxter.

It's a brotherhood so tight, there has never even been a bar fight.

"You would think with a lot Marines coming together, it would be, but no it's really laid back," Chavez said.

Uniforms, medals and rifles are displayed on walls. While it's normally a place for Marines to visit and share a glass, on this day, they are writing cards to the families of the dead Marines.

"These Marines family are part of the family," Baxter said.

Sergeant Major Gerald Baxter never met any of the young men. He didn't have to.

"I mean you drive on the street and you see a car with a Marine sticker on it, it's an instant connection. When you're in the corp, you become family," he said.

"They're brothers. Anytime a Marine falls, really any service member falls, it's still a brother to us," said Lisa Michael.

These Marines say they have lost count over the years of the brothers they have lost.

"It effects you, but you have a mindset. You have to continue the mission," Baxter said.

Their current mission: Seven cards for the seven families of the seven Marines.

There will be a memorial on Friday at the Leatherneck Club for the Marines. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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