WARWICK — Holly Charrette was weeks away from her 19th birthday on September 11, 2001. Like many, her life was changed forever by the day’s events.
Bringing to a halt her plans to study child psychology in college, Charette stepped up to serve her country.
Ed Roberts, Holly’s father, explained that after signing up for the Marines, she graduated from boot camp and remained at Camp Lejuene in North Carolina until she was deployed — to Iraq.
Three-and-a-half years after the terrorist attacks, she was stationed at Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and worked at the post office.
“Over there women could only search other women and children for weapons; Holly had to do a four-week rotation,” Roberts said.
On June 23, 2005, during the third week of her rotation, she was outside the safe zone searching a group. After an 18-hour shift she began her journey back to the base.
She never got there. The truck she was riding in was struck by a suicide bomber.
In the truck were four female Marines; Lance Corporal Charette was one of two killed.
The 22-year old was the first female Marine from Rhode Island to lose her life during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Holly was a girl who always helped everybody and always tried to put a smile on people’s faces,” remembered Roberts.
To commemorate Holly, her family began a motorcycle run on Sept. 27, her birthday, in 2009.
The annual run will be held this year on Sunday, Sept. 30. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and bikes leave the Rolfe Square Post Office, 57 Rolfe Square, Cranston, at 10 a.m.
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