Tonight we honor a young soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan.
Since 2001, 2100 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan; since 2003, 4486 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.
The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a remembrance of U.S. servicemembers who will not be coming home from war.
~ Photo Credit Timroff
The Department of Defense has announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spc. James A. Justice, 21, of Grover, N.C., died Aug. 17 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany from injuries suffered on Aug. 14 from enemy small-arms fire in Wardak province, Afghanistan. Justice was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.Please join me below for a remembrance of his life.
Spc. Justice was shot in the head during combat in Afghanistan last Tuesday. He was flown to Germany where he underwent ten hours of surgery. As his family prepared to travel to be with him, they were informed that he showed no brain activity.
His friends held a vigil for him Thursday night. Spc. Justice’s brother, Joseph Bolton, said Justice was also his best friend:
“Just the way he cared … the brother that he really was. He was a real brother.”
Just 21 years old, Spc. Justice was married, father to three stepdaughters, and his parents' youngest son. He was in Junior ROTC in middle school, and attended Cherryville High School. But then, according to his father, he started going down the wrong path.
Randall Justice told his son he needed to shape up. Spc. Justice then earned his high school diploma from Gaston College, and graduated from Cleveland Community College in 2009. He told his parents he wanted to join the Army, and enlisted three years ago. His father, Randall Justice, said:
“My son was a brave soldier. He said, ‘Dad I want to help people. If it has to take my life, this is what I want to do. I want to defend my country.’”Spc. Justice, his wife Sissy, and their three children deployed to Italy last month. She and the children are packing to return home to Cherryville, where Spc. Justice's funeral will be held.
Randall Justice is grateful that his son found religion, and says the family's strong faith will sustain them. But his grieving father wishes he knew more about exactly what happened.
“I don’t really know what happened. I would love for a soldier to come to me and let me know that he was there with my son when he got shot… to protect him.”The last words his son said to him, during a phone call two days before he was shot, were, “I love you, Dad.” The family donated their son's organs to help other soldiers in the hospital where he died.
U.S. Army soldiers load the transfer vehicle with the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Spc. James A. Justice during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012 in Dover, DE.
Rest in peace, Spc. James A. Justice. You have served with honor.
About the IGTNT series:
"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels, monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, Kestrel9000, TheFatLadySings, JaxDem, and me, Ekaterin. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.
Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases. Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB site. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, racheltracks, ccasas, JaxDem, CalNM, TheFatLadySings, and me, Ekaterin. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.
If you would like to contribute to the series, even once a month, please contact Sandy on Signal.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.