Coalition Forces Honor Fallen EOD Marine, Friend
(November 2, 2010)
|CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (MCN - 10/27/2010) — Coalition
forces gathered for a memorial service here, Oct. 27, to
honor the life and ultimate sacrifice of a fallen explosive
ordnance disposal technician. |
Staff Sgt. Joshua “JJ” Cullins, 28, of Simi Valley, Calif.,
was killed Oct. 19 while conducting combat operations in
Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st EOD
Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).
Cullins joined the Marine Corps in 1999 as an ammunition
technician. In 2004, he lateral moved into the EOD field and
deployed to Iraq as an EOD technician in 2006. In 2008, he
entered the Marine Corps Reserve and became a police officer
for the Los Angeles Police Department. In March, he deployed
to Afghanistan, assigned to various elements of I Marine
Expeditionary Force (Forward).
His job as an EOD tech required the prosecuting of
improvised explosive devices, which saved the lives of
coalition forces and local nationals.
Fellow EOD Marines said Cullins' smile and laid-back
personality made him a joy to be around.
“JJ was larger than life because as soon as you met him, you
never forgot him,” said Capt. James Shelstad, company
commander for 1st EOD Co., 1st MLG (FWD). “From the first
day I met him to the last time I saw him ... the one constant
was his smile.”
“JJ was the type of person that made work more fun; he was
never without a smile on his face, and that is what I will
miss most about him,” added Gunnery Sgt. Gus Lepping, an old
friend and colleague.
Cullins will be missed by everyone in the EOD community,
“He had a positive impact on everyone lucky enough to cross
his path,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Small, Cullins' EOD
team leader. “I feel lucky enough to be one of those
fortunate few. Thank you, JJ. You will be missed.”
At the end of the ceremony, the slow playing of Taps began
as Marines stood solemnly at attention in honor of their
Fellow service members and friends made their way to the
front of the room where a memorial display of combat boots
and an upturned rifle was placed, with a set of Cullins'
identification tags dangling from the pistol grip, below the
A U.S. Marine kneels down to offer final respects to Staff Sgt. Joshua ‘JJ' Cullins, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 1st EOD Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), killed Oct. 19,
2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Friends and fellow service members gathered for a memorial at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Oct. 27,
2010 to honor the life and ultimate sacrifice of Cullins, 28, of Simi Valley, Calif. Cullins' job as an EOD tech required the prosecuting of improvised explosive devices, which saved the lives of coalition forces and local nationals.
Photo by USMC Sgt. Brian Lautenslager
helmet. Marines took turns placing their hand
on his helmet, heads bowing, to quietly give
their final respects to the Marine who made the
“Rest in peace, JJ Cullins,” said Shelstad. “You will not be
Cullins is survived by his father, James Cullins, and
mother, Susan Gatzow.
Article and photos by USMC SSgt. Jennifer Brofer|
1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD)
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