The Corporal Mark Goyet Memorial Foundation, Inc., was founded in honor of Mark Goyet. Mark Goyet, a Corporal of the United States Marine Corps, enlisted with the Marines in 2008. Although he had served two tours, including a combat tour in Iraq, and had less than eight months left on his enlistment, he volunteered to return to Afghanistan. The call had gone out at one of the most difficult times in the War. Mark recognized what his friends in the Corps would face there, and the need for experienced combat veterans at their side. He determined to continue to serve with his brothers in arms. He hoped to go to college, to serve again as an officer with the U.S. Navy, as his father had before him. But protecting what was important to him would come first.
Lance Corporal Mark R. Goyet fell in battle in Helmand Province on June 28, 2011. Mark’s extraordinary service in combat was recognized by posthumous promotion to Corporal, and with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with designation for Combat Valor, the Purple Heart, and other commendations.
July 4, 2011, a flight brought Mark’s body to Corpus Christi, for his funeral and memorial service in Sinton, Texas. Mark had moved to Sinton at age 7, with his parents and sisters. He served as a support to his mother and family from a young age while his father was on deployment in the U.S. Navy. He was the all-American kid we all remember from our own high school days; captain of the football and basketball teams and a natural leader whose classmates admired and followed. “He was fiercely loyal. He was dedicated to his family and friends. He would give the shirt of his back to help them. I like to think that growing up as part of this community also helped develop his character”, Mark’s father, then-Commander Ray Goyet, said that day.
Mark’s mother, Martha Goyet that day remembered his smile. He was always happy, she said. A Sergeant he had served with agreed. There are a lot of Marines who really care for Mark, he said. His family and friends remembered him for his joyful smile and wonderful hugs. He embraced life and enjoyed it like there was no tomorrow. Martha told how once he helped her expertly moved from table to table, raising a small stake into a thousand dollars in short order. He ran out of the casino, exuberant. But not for the reason she had thought. Mark immediately called a friend in the Corps whose family faced a financial emergency: you don’t have to worry, he said. You’ve got the money.
There were many other memories that day and since from Mark’s family and friends in the Marines and community. More than 150 waited for him outside the hangar, many with American flags, with hands over their hearts, and tears. People stood along the route from the airport, and in the four towns along the way home. There was no church large enough for all those from the community who wanted to attend, and so, for the memorial service, 1500 came again to the Sinton High School Stadium, at the field where Mark had played under the lights.