When Sgt. Jonathan Diehm re-enlisted on Saturday, he picked the most meaningful site for his ceremony -- the grave of a fellow Marine who died in combat.
Diehm, 23, and his close friend Lance Cpl. Jared Verbeek had promised that they would always attend each other’s re-enlistments, KMPH reports. Though Verbeek died after stepping on an improvised explosive device in June 2011, Diehm still kept his vow alive by having his military ceremony at the cemetery where his dear friend is buried.
"I chose to bring it to him because he was just more than a brother, he was more than just a Marine to me,” Diehm told KMPH.
The two first met in 2008 when they were both training to be military police officers. Diehm told the Visalia Times-Delta that Verbeek was the only person he could talk to about committing his life to the military.
While Diehm officially re-enlisted on Saturday, the graveside ceremony also served as an emotional tribute to the fallen Marine who left behind a wife and baby son, CBS 47 reports.
“He was very honorable," Verbeek's Dad, Travis, told CBS 47. "He would go out of his way to help any individual. He was very kind."
And Diehm also had the opportunity to restate his commitment to his dear friend.
“I want to continue my career for the both of us,” Diehm told the Visalia Times-Delta.
BEFORE YOU GO
"Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty"