Sunday, June 12, 2011

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McDaniels

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McDaniels, 21, of Dublin, Ohio

LCpl McDaniels was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., died June 12, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Family members said McDaniels was working with an engineering unit when he was killed by an improvised explosive device. No additional details were released by the military.

Relatives said that McDaniels grew up in Madison County and graduated from London High School, 10TV's Ashleigh Barry reported.

McDaniels later moved to Dublin, where he lived briefly before enlisting in the Marines. He married his high school girlfriend last year and was deployed in March, relatives said.

"He was on a mission," said James Barker, McDaniels' uncle. "He knew what he was going to do and was proud of that. There was no question in his mind that he was going to go and serve his country and make everybody proud, and he did. He made us all proud."

McDaniels was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Whether it was the dusty roads of Afghanistan or the turf of the London High School football field, Josh McDaniels never was one to worry about getting his hands dirty.

The 21-year-old Marine, killed when a roadside bomb detonated in Afghanistan on Sunday, always did what was expected of him - and then some.

McDaniels was a lance corporal and combat engineer who worked to detect and detonate roadside bombs so that other troops could safely pass.

Marine officials told his family that one of the bombs planted by insurgents in Helmand province detonated while he worked, likely sparing other Marines from injury or death, said his maternal aunt, Rebecca Barker.

McDaniels never had designs on a military career, but he found a sense of purpose in the Marines, she said.

"He really took to it. It was what he was. He was a Marine. He was a really tough and brave guy who wanted to help everybody," Barker said.

His new bride and his parents, Brent and Janice McDaniels of New Albany, traveled to Dover, Del., yesterday to escort his body home.

McDaniels grew up in London and was captain of the Red Raiders football team as a senior in 2007. He married his hometown sweetheart, Adrianna Powell, in September and then deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Afghanistan in March.

Bill Dennis, McDaniels' coach at London High, was sickened by the death of his former captain, a 190-pound defensive end who helped lead the team's turnaround from 1-9 in 2006 to 6-4 in 2007.

"He had a lights-out senior year for us. The big reason we were able to turn the corner was him. He was a very tough kid. He always was that type. He would do whatever you wanted him to do, and then still turn it up a notch.

"Josh was a leader. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty, to do a lot of the things that a lot of kids won't do today, in order to succeed," said Dennis, now football coach at Rittman High School in Wayne County.

McDaniels hoped to play college football, but he never gained the opportunity. He headed off to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in November 2009.

Family members and friends created a Facebook page in McDaniels' memory and shared tales of a man with a devotion to duty and others. He also was known for his sense of humor.

"He was an amazing guy, a jokester. He was fun to be around. He always made people laugh," his aunt said.

McDaniels is survived by his wife, Adrianna; his parents, Brent and Janice McDaniels of New Albany, and two brothers and two sisters.

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua B. McDaniels was killed in action on 6/12/11.

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