3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment Memorializes Fallen Marine
(October 20, 2010)
|Sangin, Afghanistan (Oct. 17, 2010) – Marines and sailors from 3rd
Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2, in Sangin, paused to honor Lance Cpl. John T. Sparks. Sparks,
23, a machine gunner with Weapons Platoon, India Company,
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines was killed in action, Oct. 8.|
“It is my personal and professional honor to be a part of
this memorial service and to pay tribute to Lance Cpl. John
Sparks' life and his sacrifice,” said Lt. Col. Jason Morris,
the commanding officer of 3/5. “I give thanks every day that
I had the opportunity to serve with and lead a man such as
John, a man that gave his last full measure defending his
nation against its enemies.”
Sparks attended Paul Robeson High School in Chicago, where
he played football and wrestled. Upon graduation, Sparks
attended Westwood College where he received an associate's
degree in criminal justice. Sparks enlisted in the Marine
Corps in Feb. 2008.
Sparks was assigned to India Company, 3/5 in Sept. 2008, and
was currently on his second deployment.
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Yomen English, the company first sergeant for India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment calls roll for Lance Cpl. John T. Sparks
(23) at a memorial ceremony in Sangin, Oct. 16,
“He was a physically tough and mentally focused Marine who
never quit. He was a mentor, friend and leader within India
Company,” said Capt. Christopher Esrey, the company
commander for India Company. “India Company is shaken by his
loss, but we will carry out our mission in his name. Sparks
will be greatly missed as a fellow Marine, a friend and a
brother. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Nearly every Marine in Sangin attended the memorial and paid
their respects to their fallen brother.
Cpl. Jeffery Holsey, a machine gun team leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment pays tribute to a fallen brother, machine gunner Lance Cpl. John T. Sparks at a memorial ceremony in Sangin, Oct, 16, 2010. Sparks, 23, was killed in action, Oct. 8, 2010.
||“My friend is gone and it seems that no matter what I do,
the pain in my heart won't go away,” said Cpl. Jeffery
Holsey, a machine gun team leader and roommate of Sparks.
“John had the best qualities a person could ask for. He was
always laughing and always smiling. He never let the
troubles of the world get him down.”
Holsey laughed and cried as he remembered and talked of the
old days with Sparks.
“Sparks loved machine guns,” said Holsey. “He would always
say that ‘Everyone wants to be a machine gunner until it is
time to be a machine gunner, because the hurt we carried
separated the men from the boys.'”
The short, quiet ceremony was marked by Bible verses and
prayers honoring Sparks. Final Roll was called three times
for Lance Cpl. John T. Sparks only to be answered by
silence. Taps followed in a final farewell.
“I would like to thank Mrs. Lenora Sparks for raising and
nurturing such an extraordinary man, brother, and son,” said
Esrey. “Without his family at home, his second family, here
in India Company, 3/5, would have never been blessed with
As the ceremony came to an end, the Marines remembered
Sparks for who he was.
“He always carried his weight and when others couldn't, John
would pick up their slack,” said Holsey. “He was a selfless
person. He always gave everything and never asked for
anything in return.
“I love you and will miss you John Sparks.”
Sparks awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action
Ribbon, National Defense Service medal and the Global War on
Terrorism Expeditionary medal.
Sparks leaves behind his mother, Lenora.
Article and photos by USMC Cpl. Daniel Blatter|
1st Marine Division
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