27 February 2007

A Marine and his Sergeant Major

In an update to this post, here is the latest publicly available information.

Marine locked in fight for life

MARION TOWNSHIP -- A U.S. Marine from Bellefonte who was seriously wounded in Iraq is "still fighting" for life at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where his family and fellow Marines are keeping vigil, his father said.

Marine Cpl. David Emery Jr.'s, legs and left arm were shattered on Feb. 7 in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq's Anbar province. Emery, 21, nicknamed "D.J.," also suffered a severe abdominal wound, including a severed artery that caused his kidneys to shut down, his family said. He is on a ventilator and is also suffering from pneumonia.

"I still can't believe it's happening," said his father, David Emery, who made a one-day trip back to his Marion Township home before returning today to Bethesda. "I keep thinking it's a bad dream I'm going to wake up from. But I keep having it." ...

While staying in Bethesda near his son -- the family is being housed by the Marine Corps -- David Emery attended a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery for the Marine he thinks saved his son's life.

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."

Ellis was buried in Arlington on Wednesday.

Joseph Ellis was a 23-year Marine veteran who achieved the highest enlisted rank of Sergeant Major serving mostly in reconnaissance units. He served in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, and later in Hawaii, North Carolina and Camp Pendleton.

"He just wanted to make a difference," his wife Rachael Ellis 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."

More at the Arlington Cemetery website.

Godspeed Sergeant Major Ellis, a hero amongst heroes.

Our prayers for DJ and family continue.

Update 28 Feb: FbL has a post about Sergeant Major Ellis.

Update 26 March: Prayers for DJ

Click to read more stories about DJ here at SAG.

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