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California man killed in Iraq after losing 150 pounds to enlist
San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | 7/10/04 | Ben Fox/AP

Posted on 07/11/2004 5:34:51 PM PDT by wagglebee

WILDOMAR – When Justin Hunt first tried to join the Marine Corps, the recruiters didn't have a scale that could weigh him.

So they simply estimated that he was more than 150 pounds above the maximum limit to join the service.

Hunt, a hulking athlete then two years out of high school, didn't let that stop him. He worked out hard, changed his diet and shed the pounds so he could enlist.

Now his family is trying to hold on to the memories of that hard-charging year as they grieve for the 22-year-old lance corporal who was killed in an explosion Tuesday in western Iraq.

"I want everybody to know what a great guy he was," his mother, Debbie, said as friends and relatives comforted her at the family home in Wildomar, a community about 75 miles east of Los Angeles.

Amid preparations for a military funeral, the Marine's family shared letters, photos and memories of a young man who embraced military life.

"He loved being on a team, fighting for a goal," his mother said. "That was his personality."

When he first approached a recruiter in 2002, Hunt was large but not completely out of shape. A dozen trophies in the living room attest to his high school accomplishments in baseball, wrestling and football.

Still, he wasn't Marine-fit. The recruiters estimated that the 6-footer weighed as much as 390 pounds, though they couldn't be sure because the scale only went up to 350.

"The recruiters were pretty taken aback by how big I was," he said in a 2003 interview with The Chevron, a newspaper that serves the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. "But they were still willing to work with me to help me do what I had to do to become a Marine."

That involved a lot of early morning runs through his semi-rural community in Riverside County, sometimes accompanied by a recruiter, Staff Sgt. Zach Delellis, family members said.

"Any time he would get down and feeling like he might not want to do it, that recruiter was down here getting him out of bed," recalls his father, Tom.

With a diet high in proteins, low in carbohydrates and as little junk food as possible, he got down to 207 pounds, just two pounds below the maximum allowed for his height. During boot camp in San Diego, he lost another 30 pounds and began telling his family that he wanted to be a drill instructor.

Letters home from his base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the Middle East were filled with gung-ho descriptions of military life and some bravado. "Nothing will happen to me because I got my 'Jesus hellfire' around me," he wrote from Iraq.

His father smiled at the sentence. "He tried to project a tough-guy image but deep down he was a softy," he said. His mother agreed, noting his fondness for small dogs, especially Chihuahuas.

In another letter, Hunt mentioned re-enlisting in the Marine Corps reserve, going to college and becoming an FBI agent. He talked about getting serious with Kerry Murphy, a woman he met while stationed at Camp Lejeune.

"I love the Marines, but I don't want all the deployments to ruin the relationship that Kerry and I have," he wrote.

The couple began dating in January and were preparing to meet each other's parents. "He just had all these plans that he wanted to do with his life," Murphy said.

The Marine's parent's learned about Hunt's death from their eldest son, who is in the Navy and deployed to the Middle East. He is accompanying his brother's body home.

Debbie supports the military action in Iraq but when another son, 19-year-old Travis, mentioned that he was considering joining the Army Reserve, she asked him to drop the idea.

"I understand why we're there, but I think I've given them enough," she said, her voice breaking. "I don't think we have to do anymore personally. I don't want to take a chance and have another one of my sons over there."


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: fallen; iraq; marines; patriotism; thelastfullmeasure
When I read about men like these I realize that Edwards is wrong when he talks about two Americas. There is only one America, the problem is that its full of rabid, leftist America-haters.
1 posted on 07/11/2004 5:34:52 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: wagglebee

Poor kid. His bravery and service will not be forgotten, to those who care about him, and his brothers-in-arms, in the first place.


2 posted on 07/11/2004 5:37:16 PM PDT by Paul Atreides (Didn't your father tell you that unnecessary excerpting will make you go blind?)
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To: wagglebee
as my Mom would say..

"He'll get an extra diamond in his crown when he gets to heaven."

God bless him.

3 posted on 07/11/2004 5:38:22 PM PDT by kstewskis (BUSH-GIBSON 2004)
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To: wagglebee

God Bless Justin and his family...we will never be able to thank them enough for their sacrifice.

God Bless our Service members everywhere for what they do for our country.

God Bless President Bush and the USA!!!


4 posted on 07/11/2004 5:41:11 PM PDT by FlashBack (Faith will not make our path easy, but it ill give us strength for the Journey.)
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To: wagglebee
Posted at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1169264/posts 10:42 MDT this morning. Lots of good replys there.
5 posted on 07/11/2004 5:41:15 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: wagglebee

God Bless You Justin Hunt, and your family.


6 posted on 07/11/2004 5:42:20 PM PDT by AmericanMade1776
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To: wagglebee

Our county's finest men and women are now serving in the military. May God bless them throughout the eternities for their sacrifice in our behalf.


7 posted on 07/11/2004 5:44:02 PM PDT by EverOnward
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To: EverOnward
Posted here, with a plan to honor this Marine
8 posted on 07/11/2004 5:45:45 PM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: wagglebee
I posted this on the other thread, but the more who see it, the better:

I want to do something to recognize this young man. I've been doing some research, and he lives just 75 miles east of L.A. Apparently he was a football star in high school and I was thinking we could have some kind of memorial put in there in his honor...a plaque, something. I don't know. I will do the work and do the contacting. Of course I would get his parent's permission, I thought it would be nice to have it given by our group, FreeRepublic. This story has touched me in a way that I didn't expect. How hard this man worked to defend his country...and then he dies. I'm doing to do alot of praying today, because it's days like this that make me question a whole lot more than I usually do. Let me know if there's interest in this. I'm going to do it with or without Free Republic.

9 posted on 07/11/2004 5:45:47 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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To: SandRat

Sorry, I ran a search on the title and missed it.


10 posted on 07/11/2004 5:47:31 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: Hildy

Look like a couple linked the thread, Hildy. Carry on and ping me when you get some details and where I can send my $$


11 posted on 07/11/2004 5:48:14 PM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: Hildy

I think this is a wonderful idea. Keep me posted on any progress you make.


12 posted on 07/11/2004 5:48:47 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: wagglebee
No problem.

Papers put different headlines on the same story.

I love Hildy's idea to do a Freeper memorial at this Marine's stadium.

13 posted on 07/11/2004 5:50:43 PM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: don-o
I love Hildy's idea to do a Freeper memorial at this Marine's stadium.

Me too!

14 posted on 07/11/2004 5:51:50 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: wagglebee
God Bless this Hero and his Mother! This kid is what America is all about. Rest in Peace Hero. It only underlines what scum Yaaaaawn and his protesters are.

Pray for W and Our Amazing Troops

15 posted on 07/11/2004 5:52:33 PM PDT by bray (Yaaaawn Tax , Tax , Tax & Kerry wants your paycheck!)
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To: Hildy
If you'll depoliticize your memorial effort, and just say something like what they say when they hand over the flag "from a grateful nation", then I'll recommend this project.

I don't think this is something that should have FreeRepublic on it. That's too "commercial" for such a holy relic.

16 posted on 07/11/2004 6:00:05 PM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: patriciaruth

I just meant it should come from a group, instead of an individual. But just anonymous is fine with me. In fact, I like that better.


17 posted on 07/11/2004 6:03:21 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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To: Hildy
I think it would be best if people who see the memorial feel good and spend their time thinking about the young man who gave his life for our country.

Putting FreeRepublic on it makes it look self serving to some, whether that was intended or not.

And we are part of the GratefulNation. Personally don't think a lot of libs are.

18 posted on 07/11/2004 6:22:28 PM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: wagglebee

Me three.

I live in California, so let me know if I can help. Okay? I will drive there if necessary


19 posted on 07/11/2004 6:25:50 PM PDT by merry10
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To: wagglebee
He went out as a MAN and a patriot for his country. He had reformed himself in body and spirit. I only hope I could have the same accolades when my time comes. This has been posted many times, but never lacks for merit:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

This is the great battle of our age - civilization versus despotism and fanaticism. Those who have the opportunity to serve deserve all the praise and honor, we others can only look on with admiration and give our support.
20 posted on 07/11/2004 6:45:56 PM PDT by oncebitten
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To: patriciaruth

Fine, I just threw it out there. We can decide on the wording later. I personally think saying something like "FROM A GRATEFUL NATION" is a good thing. I wanted to get FR involved, that's all.


21 posted on 07/11/2004 7:23:20 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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To: wagglebee

wowww in an earlier post he lost 200 pounds, I wonder how many pounds it will be tommorow?


22 posted on 07/11/2004 7:23:35 PM PDT by arly
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To: wagglebee
No there are two Americas. Actually many more. But just because one supports someone other than President Bush does NOT make them an America hater or someone who doesn't support, appreciate thank the Lord everyday for young men like this one. Yes, this young man will probably have an extra gem when he gets in heaven.

There will also be many who support someone other than President Bush who too will have extra gems.

Listen to talk radio. They can't decide whether they want to go with the theme Kerry has no plan different than the President's or he will be soft on terrorism. C'mon guys which is it.

We can all see things from different perspectives. Doesn't mean eitehr is wrong. People better get used to that.

23 posted on 07/11/2004 7:31:39 PM PDT by joesbucks
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To: wagglebee

"I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."


24 posted on 07/11/2004 7:33:53 PM PDT by let freedom sing
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To: wagglebee
..
25 posted on 07/11/2004 7:38:22 PM PDT by deport (Please Flush the Johns......)
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To: Hildy

Put me on your ping list. When you have something concrete in the works, I'll ping a couple hundred troop supporters for you.


26 posted on 07/11/2004 8:28:11 PM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: patriciaruth

Thank you. I will.


27 posted on 07/11/2004 8:35:13 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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To: wagglebee
With a diet high in proteins, low in carbohydrates and as little junk food as possible, he got down to 207 pounds.

Right. All the veganpetafreaks will be blaming Atkins for this Rock 'N Roll Marine's death. Semper Fi, Marine!

Me? 30 lbs down since January on Atkins and exercise. Holding steady. 9 pounds heavier than I was when I was commissioned in 1971. My old flight suit from GW I is actually baggy.

28 posted on 07/11/2004 8:48:24 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (Airpower - Iron on target at any price)
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To: wagglebee

How does someone 390 lbs play baseball? That said, God's mercy on him and for his family


29 posted on 07/11/2004 9:04:10 PM PDT by Atchafalaya
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To: Hildy
I want to do something to recognize this young man. I've been doing some research, and he lives just 75 miles east of L.A. Apparently he was a football star in high school and I was thinking we could have some kind of memorial put in there in his honor...a plaque, something. I don't know. I will do the work and do the contacting. Of course I would get his parent's permission, I thought it would be nice to have it given by our group, FreeRepublic.

Yes, absolutely. I live in Los Angeles, and would like to join with any tribute.

Please PING me when you get some information. I would like to go to the football game where that presentation is made, as one who supports our President, our country and the brave people, like this kid, who gives his life so we who remain CAN enjoy things...like a football game...and more importantly, FREEDOM!!!

Again, please let me know.

p.s. People like this kid, and on the other side of the age spectrum (Bruce Willis), kinda take away the excuse of "I can't do this because...", don't they?

30 posted on 07/11/2004 9:28:18 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (I approve this message: character and integrity matter. Bush/Cheney '04)
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To: Christian4Bush

He went to Elsinore High School and graduated in 2000. I have an address for a Deborah Hunt in Elsinore. I think I'll wait a few days and see if there will be a memorial service for this young man and I'll try to go. Elsinore is not far from where I live. If not, I'll write a letter and try to make contact rather than calling. I don't know, what do you think? I want to clear everything with the parents before I even start thinking about what we can do. I'd like to ask them what they think he would have liked. We'll do our best.


31 posted on 07/11/2004 9:32:02 PM PDT by Hildy ( If you don't stand up for what's RIGHT, you'll settle for what's LEFT.)
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To: wagglebee

Heavens' honor guard has a new recruit.God bless him and his family.Semper Fi


32 posted on 07/12/2004 4:00:55 AM PDT by SirLurkedalot (God bless our Veterans!!! And God bless America!!!)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

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