In memory of Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos
Nick was my best friend, he was a fellow Marine and was like a brother to me. In fact I would say that we were closer than most brothers could ever be. We’d experienced things together that no one else could ever relate to unless they were there at that moment in time.
For the last four years of my life after high school everything I’ve done or experienced has been with nick. I’ve had some of the best times of my life with nick and I think a lot of that had to do with the love and appreciation we both shared for life due to the hardships and bitterness we shared that in the end can only make you do just that, love life.
I can remember times when nick and I would just sit in the barracks and drink a whole bottle of vodka or jack daniels and just talk and laugh and be happy we could both be sitting there and not in the d*mn desert. I can still remember the day we arrived at parris island, it seems like a lifetime ago, and how in the first week we got separated and nick went to 2nd BN while I stayed in 1st BN because he needed to be evaluated for his allergy to bees.
I remember with a week left to go I broke my right hip and had to have surgery and stay in the hospital for two months. As soon as nick’s graduation ceremony was over he came right to the hospital to visit me. It’s things like that I think that made us closer than any friends could ever be. Once we both got to the fleet it was every single weekend from Friday to Sunday that we would party non-stop, and that’s the way it should have been for two kids our age dealing with the things we were.
Then we both went to Iraq in march of 2008, myself with 2nd LAR BN and nick with 1st BN 9th Marines. I heard about a suicide bomber that hit a combat out post with 1/9 about a month into the deployment and I prayed to god that nick was all right. Luckily at that time we had internet access so I got a hold of him pretty quickly and my mind was put at ease. We both came home in October and picked up right where we left off both better and wiser from the experience we had shared.
As soon as we got back, there was already talk of 2nd LAR deploying to Afghanistan before the summer came. That turned out to be only Charlie company going out and I got picked to go with them. So of course after I told nick he wasn’t going to let me go alone and he transferred to 2nd BN 8th Marines who were slated to leave at the same time frame we were. We met up at camp leatherneck in Afghanistan where we saw each other on a regular basis and talked about colleges we were going to go to, a house we were going to rent for the summer, and how much life just sucked out there in general.
We pushed south on june 27th and that was the last I saw or heard from nick. I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect coming down here. The first week down here in the helmand province was the craziest thing I have ever experienced . I don’t think I can count on both hands the number of times I thought myself or one of my guys was going to die. I knew nick had to be going through the same thing and every chance I got I’d call my mom and ask if she had heard from nick’s mom to make sure he was still all right. As casualties increased all across the helmand province, including my own battalion, I couldn’t help but constantly worry.
On the evening of july 27th I called home to put my mind at ease again after hearing another Marine in 2/8 was killed. My mom answered the phone and asked if anyone had contacted me and I instantly knew what had happened, that my worst possible fear had come true. I felt sick to my stomach and I still do. How could this happen to nick? I thought we were both invincible through all of this, that all of this would just be another drunk story to tell when we got home. How could my friend who I’d shared so much with and had so many future plans with after the Marine Corps be gone just like that?
Andrew at Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos Funeral As I sit here in a city called Khan-Neshan in the Helmand province of Afghanistan I keep asking myself these questions and I’m finding it very hard to sleep at night now and I feel like that light I always saw at the end of the tunnel is dimming away for me knowing all of the grief and mourning going on back home for my best friend and fellow Marine. I wish more than anything in the world that I could be there for the service and to see my friend off but it is impossible now and there is nothing I can do to change it.
I hope that by everyone hearing these words read can some way help put everyone’s hearts and minds at ease . I will end this with a quote that has stuck with me for a long time and has inspired me when I have been in my lowest and darkest moments. “we must never allow ourselves to forget or dishonor the few men who went and would go again to h&ll and back to preserve and defend what this country truly believes to be right and descent.” I feel like half of me has been taken away here in Afghanistan and the better half at that.
I miss you and love you nick and I will never forget the things you and I have been through for the rest of my life.
CPL. Andrew W. Coville USMC