- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A building at Naval Support Facility Indian Head will be dedicated to honor U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Terry “T.J.” Honeycutt Jr., who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2010.
A dedication ceremony will be held Aug. 7.
An estimated 3,000 people gathered for Honeycutt’s funeral on the morning of Nov. 15, 2010, at New Life Church on U.S. 301 in La Plata, lining the highway for hundreds of yards.
“To get a building named after an individual, it’s a fairly long process,” said Dennis McLaughlin, technical director of Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division.
McLaughlin said that the process is lengthy because several levels of authority, including the secretary of the U.S. Navy, must approve the name.
The building to be named for Honeycutt, until now known as No. 3137, was built in 2005 and opened a year ago, McLaughlin said. It serves as an office building and a changing house for employees who work with explosives on the base.
Authorities decided that the building, which faces the Potomac River, should be named after a member of the Navy or the Marine Corps. McLaughlin added that authorities wanted to name the building after someone who was locally known.
“We came up with Cpl. Honeycutt, who paid the ultimate price in the war on terrorism,” McLaughlin said. Another factor in the decision was how Honeycutt died. McLaughlin said that the naval base’s employees do a lot of work to prevent lives from being lost by improvised explosive devices.
Honeycutt stepped on a roadside bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and died Oct. 27, 2010. He was 19.
“Who gets a building named after them?” said Terry Honeycutt, T.J.’s father. “It’s just an honor.”
T.J.’s mother, Christine Honeycutt, said the building’s dedication will put a face to her son’s name for years to come and that people will know him.
“To have him immortalized like that is comforting,” Christine Honeycutt said.
The Honeycutts, who now live in Upper Marlboro, said that their son enlisted in the Marine Corps and left the day he graduated from North Point High School in 2009. The next day, he turned 18. He was in the U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC in high school for four years. Since he was in sixth grade, the Honeycutts said, their son had wanted to be a Marine.
“We weren’t crazy about the idea, but we didn’t try to talk him out of it because we knew it was his dream,” Terry Honeycutt said. He said his son was part of the generation affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that T.J. wanted to “make a difference and do his part as an American.”
The Honeycutts said that while their son was in Afghanistan, he called them once, communicated with them on Facebook and wrote letters to his father about the horrible things he witnessed. Terry Honeycutt said that his son did not want his mother to know what was going on. Christine Honeycutt said she learned that the truth of what her son was experiencing was a lot worse than what she had envisioned.
Christine Honeycutt, who retired a few years ago from NSWC Dahlgren, Va., said her son was not a glory-seeking person and that “he would have thought they were making much ado about nothing” with the building dedication.
“He would have been somewhat embarrassed about the whole ordeal,” Terry Honeycutt said.
“He was a blessing to have as a son,” Christine Honeycutt said.
She added that her daughter, now 25 and a mother of two, was very close to T.J. and misses him every day.
“We miss him terribly, and it’s affected our lives forever,” Terry Honeycutt said.