Tuesday, November 16 2004 @ 08:25 AM EST
Contributed by: tomw
The Detroit News -- A Metro Detroit Marine was killed Saturday in the battle for Fallujah, the third Michigan soldier reported killed in Iraq in a week.
Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, a 20-year-old Wixom resident, was reported killed when a homemade bomb struck the vehicle he was riding in with several other Marines.
"He was proud of the job he was doing," said his father, John Ellsworth.
"In my many conversations with him he would get mad at what was being reported to the public. He would say `Dad we are making a difference to these people.'"
Last week the U.S. Department of Defense reported that two other Michigan soldiers, Army Pfc. Dennis Miller Jr., 21, of Erie in Monroe County, and Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Reppuhn, 20, of Hemlock in Saginaw Courty, were killed in action in Iraq.
So far, 35 Michigan soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
Ellsworth grew up in Wixom and Mount Pleasant, where he has relatives.
John Ellsworth said his son's life was "fun-filled and adventurous."
"He was always up to a challenge," his father said. "He wasn't afraid to try something to see if he could do it. He was a wonderful son and brother.
"He will be a hero to the thousands of lives he touched on this earth."
Justin Ellsworth had always wanted to be a Marine, his father said, and arranged to join the Marine Corps before he graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in June 2003. Shortly after graduation he enlisted.
Ellsworth was assigned to Combat Service Support Battalion of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
In recent weeks, Ellsworth, who was trained in handling explosives, was part of a reconnaissance force that helped to evacuate civilians from Fallujah, his father said.
"He was going into the night with a group of other soldiers to (rescue civilians)," said his father, who was notified Saturday night of his son's death by the Marine Corps.
"He was actually saying lives. He would say he could see the look on their faces (that they were relieved to see them). That made me very proud."
The last time John Ellsworth talked with his son was on Nov. 3 when Justin Ellsworth called him on a telephone.
"He called to say `Dad I love you,'" his father said.
Funeral plans are pending until the family is notified when Ellsworth's body will be returned to Michigan.
Besides his father, the Marine is survived by mother Tracy; who lives in Colorado, his step-mother Deborah and three brothers and a sister.
Last modified date and time: 01/17/2005 8:44