27 February, 2007

An American Hero

Enlisted at 17... a Marine's Marine... Superman to his daughter... hero to the family of a wounded Marine... 23 years of service... Sergeant Major of Marines...

Joseph J. Ellis, rest in peace.

His fellow Marine, a Patriot Guard rider:

Sergeant Major Ellis was a great man. He was a Marine's Marine. Prior Force Recon, did it all and asked for more. I served under him when I was a young Sergeant as an instructor at the School Of Infantry. We all watched together the planes fly into the Towers on 911. Joe Ellis made a huge impact on my life as a Marine, as well as my personal life. He went to bat for me on a few occasions and helped me out of a pickle.

He used to ask me, "What did you do today, to prepare?" He pushed us Sergeants hard because he knew it was his job. He loved the Marine Corps and he loved the Marines under him. I found out only 15 minutes ago he was killed and I pain in the thought our paths won't ever cross again in the Corps.

I am asking, if possible, any of my fellow riders who will attend this ride if one would send me a funeral program and the documents handed out. It is with regret I can not attend his funeral as I am active duty at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Cali. This would mean the world to me.

To the family of Sergeant Major Ellis,
I grieve with you. I am sorry for your loss. I will miss him dearly all the rest of my days. Sgt Maj Ellis was a great Marine and he was my friend. I pray that the Lord is with your family at your time of sorrow.

Sgt Maj, Ill meet you at the gates.

Staff Sergeant Ducharme
Semper Fi

His daughter:

[He] was always "healthy and alive," a perfectionist in what he did and who made anything seem possible. "I always thought he wouldn't be one of those people who wouldn't come home," Rachael Ellis, 20, said Monday. "In my eyes, he was superman."

...With additional education, Ellis could have moved up even further, Rachael said, but as an officer, he wouldn't have been as hands-on. She said all three of his tours of duty to Iraq weren't mandatory; he volunteered.

"He just wanted to make a difference," she said. "Anytime he was asked to go somewhere, even times when he didn't have to, he would. He wanted to be there for his troops."

Father of the wounded marine:

David Emery said his son's sergeant major, Joseph J. Ellis, of Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, appeared to have realized that a man pushing into a crowd near Ellis and David Emery Jr. was an insurgent. Emery said he was told by Marine Corps officials that Ellis got between the suicide bomber and his son. Ellis was killed by the bomb.

"I think of him as a hero," David Emery said of Ellis, a 40-year-old Marine from Ashland, Ohio. "He saw him pushing his way through the crowd. He moved to get this guy and probably saved my son's life."

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on February 21, 2007.