MERCED, CA, USA U.S. Marines CPL, B CO, 2D AA BN, (RCT-5, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC FALLUJAH, IRAQ 12/19/2006
Debbie Johnston once came home to a house covered in toilet paper. A seventh and eighth grade teacher, she also happened to live next to Joshua D. Pickard.
Pickard told her the next day that he’d heard about the TP incident. I said, ‘Yeah, Josh, what do you know about that?’ Johnston said. He just grinned that grin of his.
Pickard, 20, of Merced, Calif., was killed Dec. 19 by small-arms fire in Anbar province. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Lejeune.
Pickard, who started at defensive tackle in high school, wasn’t the best player in the world, said his former football coach John Denno, but made up for it with tenacity. Pickard treated every practice as if it were a title game.What others perceived as work, he perceived as enjoyment, Denno said.
Laurie Bazan said she had known Pickard since he was 8. Even as a young child he was a most respectful and responsible young man. He was always caring about others. He was just an exemplary young man who will be very missed. He was friends with everybody and always had a kind word to say, Bazan said.
Excerpt from the funeral service for CPL Pickard:
“It’s Christmas, the season of giving. It’s only fitting to ask ourselves what it means to give,” said Darren Pickard one of Pickard’s 3 brothers, also a Marine. “Josh understands that now more than any of us.”
“Josh, for your friendship, for your brotherly love and for your service to all of us, I salute you,” he said.
Bill Hume, Pickard’s uncle:”To his Marine family, I know he was a tough son-of-a-gun,” Hume said. “But to us he was just one big smiling kid.”
Hume said Pickard was adventurous.
“But most important was Joshua’s love of family,” “You (parents Terri and Larry Pickard) should be proud you raised a wonderful, wonderful son.”
Pickard’s uncle Rob Scheidt read a letter he wrote the Marine a day after his death, “I have so many things that I wish I would have shared with you,” Scheidt read. “You were such a special kid, I hope you know that.”
“I was just scared for you and didn’t want to go through what we’re going through now,” he said.
Scheidt planned to give Pickard a bear hug when they meet again…
“I love you” he read.