ARLINGTON, VA, USA U.S. Navy CPO, NMCB 7 GULFPORT, MS MOSUL, IRAQ 12/21/2004
37 year-old CPO Joel Baldwin of Arlington, Va.; assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 77, Gulfport, Miss.; killed Dec. 21, 2004 when his base dining facility was attacked in Mosul, Iraq.
“Just a very good human being, an exceptional Navy leader and a great Seabee,” said Capt. Will McKerall, commanding officer of Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport.
McKerall said Baldwin’s most recent civic project was organizing a group that built a playground at his daughter’s elementary school.
Seabees are spread all over Iraq, and McKerall said Baldwin was performing general engineering evaluation work.
Born in Panama, Baldwin joined the Navy in 1988, and his home of record was listed as Arlington, Va.
Before coming to NMCB 7, Baldwin taught quality control to sailors training in Seabee ratings at the Naval Construction Training Center in Gulfport.
“He was recognized for being an exceptional instructor, he was on his way to other things,” McKerall said.
Claudia Baldwin, who works as an intern at the local Veterans Affairs hospital, also served as one of the battalion’s ombudsmen, linking families to the command, McKerall said.
Baldwin’s awards include two Navy Achievement Medals, four Good Conduct Medals, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Overseas Service Ribbons, two National Defense Service Medals, two Navy “E” ribbons, the M16 rifle expert marksman device, and Sea Service deployment ribbons.
The Mississippi-based Keesler Federal Credit Union set up a memorial fund in his name, to help his wife and daughter, said spokeswoman Michelle Manley.
He leaves behind a wife, Claudia, and their 9-year-old daughter, Cali.