News: Echo Battery honors fallen Texas cannoneer
Story by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZEEBRUGGE, Helmand province, Afghanistan—The Marines of Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, gathered to honor and pay tribute to one of their fallen brethren during a memorial ceremony June 28.
Private First Class Josue Ibarra was killed in action June 19 while conducting counterinsurgency operations in the Kajaki district.
Ibarra, a Midland, Texas, native joined the Marine Corps June 28, 2010. He attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, followed by Marine Combat Training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Ibarra then attended the Field Artillery Cannon Crewman Course at Fort Sill, Okla., where he earned the military occupational specialty 0811, field artillery cannoneer. Ibarra soon thereafter reported to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, for duty with Echo Battery, 2/12, and then deployed with the battery to the Kajaki district in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Ibarra served as a field artillery cannoneer and a rifleman with 2nd squad, 1st platoon. He was the point man for the squad during security patrols and was responsible for clearing a safe path to ensure each Marine arrived safely at his destination.
“I know how everyone says there are great Marines, but with him as a (private first class), he was outstanding,” said Sgt. Adam C. Galaviz, a Peoria, Ariz., native and Ibarra’s squad leader. “As a squad leader, I couldn’t ask for a better Marine.”
Galaviz said Ibarra never questioned orders and he had a great sense of dedication to duty. Ibarra was not only noted for his performance as a Marine, but also for his ability to influence others with his positive outlook on life.
“He was setting the example off the bat on how a Marine should be,” Galaviz explained. “He had a positive attitude about all things. It definitely lifted everyone’s spirits up.”
Along with Ibarra’s positive attitude, the one thing which was undeniable about his physical characteristics was his smile. Several people mentioned during the memorial ceremony the affect his smile had on people.
Lance Cpl. Jason B. Budge, a cannoneer with 2/12 and close friend of Ibarra, spoke at the ceremony, recalling several fond memories of his fallen brother. He recalled an instance in which Ibarra told him he was going to be in a boxing match. Budge said when he and his friends arrived to support Ibarra at the fight, they noticed the opponent was twice as big as their upbeat buddy. Ibarra unfortunately lost the fight after three rounds, but his upbeat attitude was still intact.
“When he left the ring, he had two black eyes, a fat lip, and a big smile on his face,” stated Budge.
The source of his contagious smile was his religious beliefs, from which he drew his strength and morale character, according to those who knew him best. Budge, who knew Ibarra since basic training, mentioned Ibarra would drag him to church every Sunday and had no problem openly sharing his faith.
Those who knew him said they will miss what this dedicated Marine brought to the table as a man of faith, a friend, and a Marine.
“The thing I miss most about him is …,” said Galaviz as he paused to reflect, “it is comprised of everything he was. It wasn’t like he was just a good Marine, it was the fact he was a good person and knowing there are good people like that still out there. War can challenge your outlook on how other cultures are and, at times, even your own. He was that reminder to me that there is that good standard. He set that standard for other people to emulate.”
Ibarra is survived by his father, mother, and five siblings.
His personal awards include the Purple Heart Medal (awarded posthumously), National Defense Service Medal, and NATO Medal.
Editor’s note: Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.