CORPORAL JOE WRIGHTSMAN, UNITED STATES MARINE |
July 27, 2010
Name: America's 1st Sgt
Posting date: 7/27/10
Stationed in: Bahrain
Milblog: Castra Praetoria
"The Department of Defense announced the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, 23, of Jonesboro, La., died July 18 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii."
A Marine carry team lifts a transfer case containing the remains of Cpl. Joe L. Wrightsman, Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
While all of the above is true it doesn't sit well with me to merely leave you with that sanitized version of events. As someone who knew Cpl Wrightsman's character, I will do my best to paint for you, the citizens he served, a better picture of an American fighting man.
To the best of my knowledge, this is what happened:
On July 18, Cpl Wrightsman was part of a patrol crossing the Helmand River when an ANP (Afghan National Police) was swept away in the river behind him. Without hesitation, Cpl Wrightsman, in full personal protective gear, dove into the water in an effort to rescue the ANP. He was last seen about 50 ft. downstream when he surfaced briefly. Four other Marines dropped their gear and went in after him, but were unable to find anything.
In the picture below you can see then-Lance Corporal Wrightsman standing directly behind me, serving as guidon bearer for Kilo Company 3/3 when we were getting ready to leave Fallujah and head home in 2008.
I remember Wrightsman had a tattoo of the Green Lantern symbol. Many young men have joined the corps with dreams of doing exploits. No doubt Wrightsman was no different, hoping to emulate the valor of his childhood heroes.
Graduating from Marine corps Martial Arts Instructor Course, Al Asad, Iraq, 2009.
Hamming it up with the Company 1st Sgt during the Marine Corps Birthday, November 2007.
One of my last acts as Kilo Company 1st Sgt was to submit Wrightsman for meritorious promotion to Corporal. At the time of his death his current 1st Sgt had submitted him for meritorious Sergeant. It was recently remarked to me that all Cpl Wrightsman cared about was being a Marine and taking care of his squad. Yeah, that's just about my breed of Marine I'd say.
"And each man stand with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can."
-- Elizabeth Barret Browning