NEW BETHLEHEM, PA, US
U. S. Marine Corps
SGT, 2D BN 8TH MAR, (RCT-1, II MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
06/06/2011, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
Marine Sergeant Joseph M. Garrison died on June 6, 2011 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. This was his third deployment to Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The twenty-seven year old Marine was engaged to be married to Brittney Nicole Stephens of Jacksonville, North Carolina. “Joey” attended Redbank Valley High School and represented Redbank on their wrestling team. In Distant, Pennsylvania hundreds of people, many who didn’t know Sgt. Joseph Michael “Joey” Garrison, lined the street leading to the Oakland Church of God to show their gratitude and grief for the fallen Marine. Neighbors and friends stood hushed along the funeral procession route for a mile to the cemetery on the gray and rainy summer morning, waving Marine Corps, blue star and U.S. flags and displaying signs such as “God Bless Joe,” “Soldiers give us freedom” and Soldiers are God’s angels sent down to protect us.”
His family, with the help of fellow Marines, kept the services as private as they could. The community organized to limit any picketing of the military funeral by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Kansas-based extremist church had threatened to attend the funeral but did not. Friends and family watched Joey change from wrestler to Marine. A 2005 video records Joey cheerfully interacting with a young Afghani boy, but on the day to the final sound of bagpipes during the community’s final salute to him, young children waved flags for the Joey who served his country and his Marines with honor.
“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” Ronald Reagan
This was Joey’s favorite quote.