Fallen Soldier Homeward Bound
A fallen soldier from Aberdeen is coming home. A flag-draped casket containing Staff Sgt. Justin C. Marquez will be flown to the Moore County Airport on Sunday, Oct. 14 and is expected to arrive between 9:30 and 10 a.m. where an honor guard will escort him from the plane.
“Visitation will be held at Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines on Sunday evening from 6 to 9 p.m.,” his mother Terry Marquez said late Thursday afternoon. “A funeral service will be conducted at the historical Bethesda Presbyterian Church on Bethesda Road in Aberdeen on Monday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. with graveside service and burial to follow in Bethesda Cemetery. The Patriot Guards will be on duty to protect mourners from protestors.”
The soldier’s family is asking everyone to make donations to their favorite charity of choice in lieu of flowers. Marquez, 25, of Aberdeen, and Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro, 27, of Coral Springs, Fla. were shot while on patrol in the Chak district of Wardak Province, Afghanistan. They died from wounds received from small-arms fire on Saturday, the Army said. Both were assigned to the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), out of Fort Bragg.
On Monday, the two families met at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where those who die in Afghanistan are repatriated. According to military protocol, soldier escorts accompany the fallen from Dover, and officers are assigned to assist the families in making arrangements.
“Justin’s comrade, Joseph Schiro, should be written about as well,” said his mother. “He and his young family lived in Fayetteville. We were able to meet with his parents at Dover, and he sounded so much like Justin – always ready to go out on patrol and volunteering for everything. He wanted to go to dive school next just as Justin did. It was so strange hearing how similar they are.”
Services at the historic Bethesda church are to be open to the public in honor not only of his service, but of all who serve. They will be simple, as the fallen soldier wanted.
“No military honors as Justin wanted a funeral for friends and family,” his mother said. There will be a Special Forces chaplain.”
Justin Marquez and his twin brother Drew were born in Salem, Mass., on March 25, 1987. The family moved to North Carolina when they were two months old. Their father, Dr. Mark Marquez is a social worker who is an assistant professor in that department at Fayetteville State University. His brother is a high school science teacher, and their mother a school librarian at Elise Middle School in Robbins.
“He started school at LaGrange Elementary in LaGrange – next to Kinston – when we lived at the Baptist Children’s home in Kinston,” she said. “He went to school at Carthage Elementary for a short time after we moved to Moore County (when they were in fourth grade) but then attended Aberdeen Elementary. He was in the first graduating class of Southern Middle School. He graduated from Pinecrest High School in 2005 and attended SCC and Pembroke University before enlisting in the U.S. Army in Jan. 2009.”
“He was living in his own home in Aberdeen and commuted to Fort Bragg every day,” Terry Marquez said. “He was also survived by his girlfriend, Stephanie Moore, of Pinehurst ,and many other relatives from Sanford, Lillington, Wilmington, Jacksonville and Syracuse, N.Y.”
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