Aberdeen Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
BY JOHN CHAPPELL
A soldier from Moore County was one of two Special Forces warriors killed this weekend while on patrol in the Chak district of Wardak Province, Afghanistan. The Department of Defense announced their loss in a Sunday press release.
Sgt. Justin C. Marquez, 25, of Aberdeen and another soldier were shot while “on dismounted patrol” the Department of Defense said. They died from wounds received from small-arms fire on Saturday, the Army said.
Also killed was Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro, 27, of Coral Springs, Fla. Both Marquez and Shiro were assigned to the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), out of Fort Bragg.
On Monday the Marquez family went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where the bodies of those who die in Afghanistan, or elsewhere as a result of the war, are repatriated. Embalming, dressing and casketing take place at Dover. According to protocol, armed forces escorts accompany bodies of the fallen from Dover to funeral homes and officers are assigned to assist the families in making necessary arrangements.
Funeral arrangements for Justin Marquez have not been announced, but Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines will handle them for the family. Mark Marquez told WTVD news in a brief Monday afternoon telephone interview that the family wanted their son’s funeral open to the public in honor not only of their son’s service but of all who served.
The Marquez family moved to Moore County from Kinston in 1996. Terry Marquez served on the Aberdeen Town Board and once ran for county commissioner. Both parents worked in areas of human development, she as a school librarian at Elise Middle and he at Sandhills Mental Health Center and now as assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at Fayetteville State University.
Justin Marquez and twin brother Drew grew up in Aberdeen and graduated from Pinecrest High School in 2005. They attended Sandhills Community College, and originally both planned careers in education.. The twins’ passion was skateboarding, and social media sites like Vimeo still post their videos of pals flying through the air. Like the parents, they embarked on lives of service. Drew Marquez became a high school science teacher, his brother a soldier.
The Army said Marquez was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This was his first deployment in support of overseas contingency operations. According to the Army he enlisted in January, 2009 and completed his initial Infantry and Airborne training in June of that year.
Marquez was then stationed at Fort Bragg where he attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection. In February 2011 he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course – the famed, grueling “Q Course” – and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (A).
In addition to the Q Course, his military education included the U.S. Army Airborne School, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School, and the Advanced Leaders Course. His military awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Special Forces Tab.
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