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Marine Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis

Died February 7, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

40, of Ashland, Ohio; assigned to Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Feb. 7 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

Marine volunteered for 3 tours in Iraq until he was killed

The Associated Press

ASHLAND, Ohio — A Marine killed by a suicide bomber last week was a perfectionist who volunteered for three tours in Iraq, his daughter said.

Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis, 40, of Ashland, died Feb. 7 in Iraq’s Anbar province west of Baghdad.

He was assigned to the Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), I Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“I always thought he wouldn’t be one of those people who wouldn’t come home,” said Rachael Ellis, 20, on Monday. “In my eyes, he was Superman.”

Ellis enlisted in the Marines at age 17 after graduating from Ashland High School, devoting himself to advancement in the military. He was set to return to the United States this month and planned to retire in May and move to North Carolina, said his daughter, a nursing student who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

He also is survived by his wife, Deborah, and her three children, of Camp Pendleton; his former wife of 17 years, Traci, of Perrysville; his parents and five siblings. Ellis will be buried Feb. 21 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. No services in Ohio are planned.

Ellis served with the Marines in Ohio, Hawaii, California and North Carolina. He was deployed to Saudia Arabia in 1990 in the first Gulf War.

The military told Traci and Rachael Ellis that he was doing a routine checkpoint search when he approached a suspicious man who detonated a suicide bomb, killing him and injuring another Marine. A message seeking comment was sent to Camp Pendleton.

“He just wanted to make a difference,” Rachael Ellis said. “Anytime he was asked to go somewhere, even times when he didn’t have to, he would. He wanted to be there for his troops.”

2/4 sergeant major killed in Iraq

By Gidget Fuentes

Staff writer

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis, the top enlisted man with a Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based infantry battalion, was killed Wednesday during combat operations in Iraq.

Ellis, 40, was the sergeant major for Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, which is operating in Iraq as the ground combat force for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), Pentagon officials announced Friday.

Ellis, of Ashland, Ohio, graduated from boot camp in 1984 and trained as a radio operator. He served with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and deployed in 1990 to Saudi Arabia with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, according to his biography posted on the 15th MEU’s Web site. Over his 22-year career, he did several tours at the School of Infantry, was the battalion radio chief for 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in Hawaii and worked as a canvassing recruiter in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ellis joined 2/4 in late 2003 and deployed to Iraq as the Headquarters and Service Company first sergeant. He became the battalion sergeant major Dec. 17, 2004.

Among his personal awards and decorations are the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” and two gold stars and two awards of the Combat Action Ribbon.

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