Sunday, May 01, 2011

Funeral Scheduled for Fallen Iowa Soldier

James Justice: The Iowa National Guard just released details on funeral services for Staff Sergeant James Justice of Grimes. Justice died trying to save the lives of other injured soldiers in Afghanistan. Pretty safe to call him a hero, don't you think?

Here's what we know from the guard:

Funeral services have been scheduled for Staff Sgt. James Justice, 32, of Grimes, Iowa. Justice was killed by enemy small arms fire during combat operations on Saturday, April 23, in Kapisa Province, Afghanistan at approximately 10 a.m., local Afghanistan time. Wounded in the attack was Spc. Zachary Durham, 21, of Des Moines, Iowa. Both Soldiers were assigned to Troop A, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa.

The attack happened during rescue operations of a U.S. Army OH-58 helicopter crew who were injured when their aircraft made a hard landing in Alah Say District, Kapisa Province,
Afghanistan. Justice and Durham responded to the scene as members of a Quick Reaction Force (“QRF”) and came under fire from enemy forces at the crash site. Justice died at the scene and Durham was evacuated to Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan for medical treatment and is currently receiving additional medical care at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The cause of the helicopter crash is unknown at this time and under investigation.

Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for Staff Sgt. Justice as follows:

Services will begin with a visitation from 4-8 p.m., Tuesday, May 2, at the IKM-Manning Middle School gymnasium, 755 Main St., Manilla. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. (doors open at 1 p.m. for visitation prior to funeral), Wednesday, May 3, IKM-Manning High School gymnasium, 209 10th St., Manning. Graveside service and burial will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. at a later date.

James A. Justice was born June 30, 1978 in Manning, grew up in Manilla, and graduated from
Irwin-Kirkman-Manilla High School in 1997. While in high school he participated in football,
baseball and track. Justice enlisted as an Infantryman in Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th
Infantry, Iowa Army National Guard in September 1998 at Denison, Iowa and completed Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Benning, Ga. in May 1999. He previously deployed to Operation Desert Spring (Kuwait) in 2001, the Multinational Force Observer peacekeeping mission (Sinai Peninsula, Egypt) in 2003-2004, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005-2006.

Prior to his mobilization, he was employed full-time by the Iowa National Guard at Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa. He loved to spend time with his daughter and his dog, Kinnick. He could often be found tinkering around the house and cooking for his family. James was an avid Iowa Hawkeye and Minnesota Vikings football fan. In his spare time he liked to golf, hang-out with his friends, and work on tractors with his dad.

He is survived by his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Caydence, of Grimes; his father and mother, Larry and Lillian Justice, brother Kenny Justice, sisters Denise Christensen and Christy (Kevin) Lingle, nieces Stephanie (Justin) Ahrenholtz, Jessica (Alisa) Lingle, Katie Lingle and Rebecca Lingle, all of Manilla; nephew Doug (Sarah) Ridgley and their children, Emirsann and Elliette, all of Omaha, Neb.; parents-in-law Bill and Sue Sand, brother–in-law Bob Buckli, and grandparents-in-law Archie and Carol Sand, all of Eau Claire, Wis.; brother-in-law Tim (Kacee) Buckli of Omaha, Neb.; sisters-in-law Amy (Clyde) Buckli-Loew of Chetek, Wis. and Annie (Tony) Luer of Fall Creek, Wis.; his dog, Kinnick; and many other friends and family. Justice was preceded in death by his grandparents Kenneth and Katherine Justice, and Maynard and Nora Gunnlaugsson; brother-in-law Lyle Christensen; aunt and uncle Alta and Merlin Nulle; and his best buddy, his dog Kado.

The family of Staff Sgt. James A. Justice issued the following statement:

“James Alan Justice meant many things to every person he encountered. He was the funny best friend named "Juice" that could be counted on when needing to be cheered up; the uncle who always knew just what to say and when to hand out hugs; the son who was his parents’ pride and joy; the father who loved his little girl more than anything in the world and couldn't wait to have more children; and the husband who loved to put a smile on his wife's face. One thing James was to everyone was the ultimate soldier. He loved the military and he looked forward to every deployment. While we were stunned and extremely saddened to learn of his tragic death, we all take solace knowing that James died doing what he loved best: serving his country beside the men and women he revered and trusted.

Through his four tours of duty, James had many accomplishments but above all, he made life-long friendships. The outpouring of support and prayers during this time from friends, fellow Soldiers and strangers alike has been astonishing, but proved what we all knew: that James was a one-of-a-kind guy and deeply loved by all who had the opportunity to know him and serve with him. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Iowa National Guard for the opportunities they have provided to James over the past 13 years. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge all of his fellow Iowa National Guard Soldiers both at home and serving overseas. May God be with you always.

We are sure that you can understand and will honor our request for family privacy at this time, as we are focused on working with military officials to return James' body home for military service and burial. We thank you for your thoughts, prayers and kindness at this extremely difficult time.

We are deeply saddened by our loss, but extremely proud of the honorable way he served America as a leader in the U.S. Army. We will remember him, his strength, his infectious sense of humor, his faith in God, and his love for his family, friends and country with great pride.”

Justice was part of the approximately 2,800 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division deployed to Afhanistan. These Iowa Soldiers reported to their mobilization station at Camp Shelby, Miss. in July 2010 for additional training and preparation before departing for the Afghanistan theater of operations. The unit arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, where the Soldiers provide full-spectrum operations in a combat theater, including lethal and non-lethal capabilities, support to Afghan National Army and Police units, and assistance to humanitarian relief initiatives.

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