Last Known Activity|
LCpl. Joseph P. Spence was killed Jan. 26 when the CH-53E helicopter in which he was riding crashed near Rutbah, Iraq. An investigation found that the crew of the CH-53E became disoriented when weather turned bad, did not realize the helicopter was banking to the left, and flew the aircraft into the ground. Twenty-nine Marines and one sailor also were killed.
The Marines lost from BLT 1/3 in the helicopter crash were:
1st Lt. Travis J. Fuller, 26, a native of Granville, Mass.
1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney, 30, a native of Viellejo, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland, 26, from Westion, Wyo.
Sgt. Michael W. Finke Jr., 28, from Huron, Ohio
Cpl. Richard A. Gilbert Jr., 26, a native of Montgomery, Ohio
LCpl. Stephen P. Johnson, 24, from Covina, Calif.
Cpl. Timothy A. Knight, 22, a native of Brooklyn, Ohio
Cpl. Timothy M. Gibson, 23, from Hillsborough, N.H.
Cpl. Sean P. Kelly, 23, from Gloucester, N.J.
Cpl. Kyle J. Grimes, 21, a native of North Hampton, Penn.
Cpl. Nathaniel K. Moore, 22, from Champaign, Ill.
Cpl. James L. Moore, 24, a native of Roseburg, Ore.
Cpl. Nathan A. Schubert, 22, from Cherokee, Iowa
Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, 24, a native of West Valley, Utah
Petty Officer 3rd Class John D. House, 28, from Ventura, Calif.
LCpl. Brian C. Hopper 21, a native of Wynne, Ark.
LCpl. Jonathan E. Etterling, 22, from Wheelersburg, Ohio
LCpl. Fred L. Maciel, 20, a native of Spring, Texas
LCpl. Allan Klein, 34, from Clinton Township, Mich.
LCpl. Gael Saintvil, 24, a native of Orange, Fl.
LCpl. Mourad Ragimov, 20, from San Diego, Calif.
LCpl. Rhonald Rairdan, 20, a native of San Antonio, Texas
LCpl. Saeed Jafarkhani-turshizi, 25, from Fort Worth, Texas
LCpl Hector Ramos, 20, a native of Aurora, Ill.
LCpl. Darrell J. Schumann, 25, from Hampton, Va.
LCpl. Joseph P. Spence, 24, from Scotts Valley, Calif.
LCpl. Michael L. Starr Jr., 21, a native of Baltimore, Md.
Four Marines from HMM-361 also lost their lives;
Captain Paul Alaniz
Capt. Lyle Gordon
Staff Sgt. Dexter Kimble
LCpl. Tony Hernande
Eldest son of James and Rebecca Spence of Scotts Valley. Husband of Elisabeth Jeanne Bertsch Spence and father of Providence Elisabeth. Also survived by two brothers, Tommy and Roger Spence. LCpl Spence was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Division and stationed in Hawaii. He had enlisted just after September 11th, 2001. The day after Spence completed boot camp, he went to get the same Marine bulldog mascot tattoo his father had. Soon after he left for Iraq, Elisabeth gave birth to the couple's daughter, Providence. Spence never saw her in person, but was able to connect via videoconference at Christmas. With just nine days left to his tour of duty in the Middle East, Spence was killed. Spence first asked permission to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elisabeth Bertsch, when he was 16 and she was 14. David and Gayle Bertsch, the girl's parents, said no way — (though privately they came to admire the kid's determination). But Spence, the oldest of three brothers, never gave up. He kept asking. "I must have told him no half a dozen times," said David Bertsch. Following boot camp, Spence showed up wearing his Marine uniform, and the Bertsches knew he was right for their daughter. Joe and Elisabeth were married on Dec. 28, 2002. The Kane'ohe-based couple had one child — Providence, now 4 months old. But by the time she was born, Spence had left for Fallujah.