Monday, March 05, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Justin M. Estes

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Justin M. Estes, 25, of Sims, Ark.

SSgt. Estes was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died March 5, 2007 in Samarra, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Robert M. Stanley, Sgt. Andrew C. Perkins, Spc. Ryan M. Bell, Spc. Justin A. Rollins and Pfc. Cory C. Kosters.

Estes, a 2000 graduate of Oden High School, was on his second tour in the Middle East and was due to return to the United States on March 20, his family said. Estes joined the Army in January 2001, and served in Korea before joining the 82nd Airborne in November 2005, where he was assigned as a fire team leader. He is survived by his father, Donald Estes; his mother, Diane Salyers; and his sister, Kelli Estes, all of Sims, Ark.

Todays THV -- It's another day at Oden High School. But on this day, students pay special attention to the graduation photo from 2000. That's the year Justin Estes graduated and eventually decided to join the Army.

He was killed in Iraq just two weeks before he was due to come home. He was 25. He lived in Montgomery County in the small community of Sims.

“We all remember him playing basketball and riding his motorcycle and things he used to do to get in trouble, and he found a lot of it. But he was a good kid," says Justin's big sister Kelli Estes.

She says Justin was tall and the center of the basketball team. Justin's name is on the banners in the gym honoring their basketball accomplishments. Kelli says Justin loved movies and could quote lines from them. He was funny and quick-witted.

Kelli says, “And he got out of so much trouble with my mom because he would just make her laugh. She'd say something about his grades and he'd say, ‘Pack your bags momma, we're going on a guilt trip.’ And she'd start laughing at him and he never got in trouble. And I would be like I would be in so much trouble if that was me.”

“As we were growing up, we played army and stuff as kids and he loved it,” she recalls.

Steven Gibbs and Justin were best friends growing up. He says it was hard to hear that his boyhood friend had been killed in Iraq.

He says, “It hit me kind of hard at first. I took it pretty rough. I started thinking about why he was over there and realized, you know, that that is what he wanted to do. That's what he was meant to do.”

Army Staff Sgt. Justin M. Estes was killed in action on 03/05/07.

No comments: