Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines, 26, of Olney, Ill.
Lance Cpl. Hines was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Terre Haute, Ind.; killed Oct. 15 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Anbar province, Iraq.
By Sue Loughlin
CASEY, Ill. — Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines was remembered Friday as a proud Marine and defender of freedom; a loving husband and father; and a loyal friend who always put others ahead of himself.
Friends, family, military veterans and fellow Marines paid tribute to the 26-year-old Westfield, Ill., resident who died much too young while serving his country.
Hines was killed in action Oct. 15 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces near Al-Anbar Province in Iraq. He was a member of Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 24th Marines Reservists based in Terre Haute.
About 40 Marines from his unit attended the funeral and participated in military graveside rites.
Hines had been in Iraq only about 2 1/2 weeks when the tragedy occurred.
“Joshua’s death troubles us very much. It hurts us deeply,” the Rev. Penelope H. Barber said during the funeral at the Casey United Methodist Church. “He was so young and he had so much to live for,” including his beloved wife, Caryn, and his 2-month-old son, Rylie Joshua.
Hines had plans and dreams that ended abruptly in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated underneath the Humvee in which he rode along with two other Marines, Sgt. Brock Babb, 40, of Evansville, who also was killed, and Lance Cpl. Joshua Bleill, 29, of Greenfield, who was seriously injured.
“We struggle for understanding. Why did this happen?” Barber said at Hines’ funeral. “How do we carry on without Josh?”
She referred to the Marine motto, Semper Fi, which means, “Always Faithful,” and she encouraged mourners to remain faithful.
“Don’t allow adversity to strip you of faith,” because if that happens, “Evil does win,” Barber said.
She urged those grieving not to blame anyone for Hines’ unfortunate death, but instead, to love and support one another.
“We know Josh’s sacrifice was not in vain,” Barber said. “He gave his life in defense of others.” There is no finer calling, and no greater witness to the nobility of the human spirit, she said.
“All of our lives are richer for having known him,” Barber said.
With difficulty and much emotion, Loren Holland shared his memories of his lifelong and best friend, Joshua Hines. In November 2003, Hines, who grew up in California, moved to Illinois with Holland.
“I have so many memories of Josh,” Holland said, describing Hines as “a brother, a friend, a hero.”
In their younger years, they used to throw water balloons at passing cars or knock on people’s doors and run away.
When Hines told Holland he wanted to be a Marine, “I was so proud of him. It was like having my little brother follow in my footsteps,” Holland said. “He was so proud to wear a uniform.”
Hines always had wanted a family and he always was good with children. Hines married Caryn on Feb. 25, and they celebrated the birth of Rylie on Aug. 28. “We thank Josh for leaving us a little piece of him,” Holland said.
As he concluded, Holland said, “Rest in peace brother … God I love you, brother.”
Later, 1st Sgt. Troy Euclide, family readiness officer with Company K, shared some memories that had been written by Cpl. Jason St. Jean, a friend of Hines.
St. Jean described Hines as a “genuinely good person” as well as a loyal and trustworthy friend.
“He would drop anything he was doing to come to the aid of a friend,” St. Jean had written. Hines put other wants and needs ahead of his own.
“He taught me to never stop trying and to always give all that you got,” St. Jean wrote. Hines strived for excellence in civilian life and in the Marine Corps.
While Hines’ death came way too early, he touched the hearts of many. “I’m proud to say I stood alongside a great American and a hero,” St. Jean wrote.
Barber, who provided pre-marriage counseling to Hines and his fiancee, described the fallen Marine as someone who had a zest and a love for life, whether he was horseback riding on a beach or messing around with his brothers.
He approached life with energy and intensity, and whatever task he took on, he did it with passion and a commitment to excellence.
Hines was an enthusiastic and happy man with a contagious sense of humor. “He always had a twinkle in his eye that made me wonder what he was up to,” Barber said, which drew laughter from the mourners. “He always had that beautiful smile.”
Barber also was impressed by the discipline and respect for authority showed by Hines.
“He was very proud to be a Marine and a defender of freedom,” Barber said, extending her sympathy to fellow Marines. “He considered it a high honor to serve alongside every one of you.”
Outside the church, several Patriot Guard Riders — carrying flags — paid tribute to Hines and also shielded mourners from any possible protesters. The Riders also were present during graveside services at Casey-Cumberland Cemetery.
As the funeral procession drove to the cemetery, several people stood along the street carrying flags in one hand and umbrellas in another. A steady rain fell throughout the morning.
At the cemetery, Hines received full military graveside rites conducted by the Marine Corps, which included a 21-gun salute, Taps and the folding of the flag. At the end, a bagpiper played the Marine’s Hymn.
“We never let a fallen brother go without honor. We do everything we can for the families,” said Staff Sgt. Tim Kosky, an active duty member with the Terre Haute-based Marine unit. “We’ll continue to be here for them in the weeks and months ahead.”
Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines was killed in action on 10/15/06.