Story via the Sgt Richards Facebook Page
Sgt Richards, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January, 2007 and attended Recruit Training at MCRD, Parris Island, South Carolina, graduating as a PFC. In April 2007, Rob married Raechel. Upon completion of Recruit Training and School of Infantry, PFC Richards reported to 1st Battalion 6th Marines, Camp Lejeune, NC. LCpl Richards was selected for 1st Battalion 6th Marines’ Sniper Platoon in August of 2007. In March of 2008, he deployed with the 24th MEU as the invading force for Operation Aswada Woda into Garmsir, Afghanistan. He served in Scout Sniper team 2. During this deployment, 1stLt Jason Mann and Cpl Justin Cooper were killed, both with the Sniper platoon and also the only casualties within the battalion. Cpl Cooper was killed in an ambush during a mission they were on in May 2008. 1st Lt Mann was killed in July 2008, leaving behind a wife and young daughter. The loss of these men hit Rob very hard, as he admired and had gained a lot of knowledge from 1st Lt Mann and respected him as a prior-enlisted Officer and mentor.
After Rob returned from his first deployment, he attended the Scout Sniper Basic Course in Quantico, Virginia in March of 2009. In August of that year, L-Cpl Richards attended Scout Sniper Team Leader Course at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Upon graduation, he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal and selected to be team leader of Team 1.
In December 2009, Cpl Richards deployed with 1st Battalion 6th Marines’ Sniper Platoon as the invading force for Operation Moshtarak into Marjah, Afghanistan. Rob served as the team leader for Sniper Platoon Team 1. March of 2010 brought many changes. Raechel had been extremely active in the Family Readiness Program with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines since it’s implementation in 2008. She completed her college level internship through the program and focused her studies on Communicating with the Military and their Families. Through her close professional relationship and spending over 40 volunteer hours per week at the battalion, Raechel gained the respect of the higher-ranking officers and enlisted personnel in the unit. She made friends with many of the spouses and other Family Readiness Aassistants.
On March 14, 2010, Raechel’s very close friend, Rachel Porto, was notified that her husband had been killed in action in Afghanistan. Raechel was one of the first to be at her door after the notification and to help care for the couple’s newborn baby, while assisting her in making funeral arrangements for her Marine husband.
Raechel accompanied Rachel Porto to Dover, Delaware, to receive her husband’s remains. Later, when Raechel awoke to drive to Florida for to attend the burial services, she received the phone call informing her that her own husband had been wounded in action in Afghanistan.