U.S. Marine Corps
PFC, Recon Battalion
01/13/2014, Camp Pendelton, CA
This is the last photo taken of Josh while he was waiting to get his haircut his first weekend at Camp Pendleton, CA. He had just checked in (kind of) to Recon Training Battalion. He drowned the following day during the final training activity. His final words were “I don’t quit!”
Josh was a baseball champion. He pitched and played outfield for the North Carolina West Champion Babe Ruth team and the back-to-back state champion Weddington, NC Warriors in high school. Most of his teammates went to play college ball. His mind was set on training to become the best of the best in the Marine Corps. He graduated runner up for company Iron Man. He went to SOI East where he won the Marksmanship Award (which he never even told us about because it wasn’t the honor graduate award). He was invited to train to be a Recon Marine which had been his dream since 9th grade.
He was the kind of kid that was at his best when the pressure was on. He never tooted his own horn but tried to make everyone around him better. He loved adrenaline. Josh could come in from centerfield with the bases loaded and nobody out and find the extra gear to shut the opponent down even though he wasn’t the hardest thrower. He found what was needed in the moment. He didn’t waste effort in school. He identified the target and scored, although he never appeared stressed about his studies. He graduated high school with honors. He was known for his intensity of expression and contempt for anyone who didn’t train their hardest. Josh loved to fish for bass. I’ll send a few more pics. He caught snakes, and loved skydiving. He saw Recon as a way to jump school and to best the best.
Josh was the third of our seven children. He was our hero. I will send a family picture too. We know you’re swamped but would appreciate it if you could draw his portrait. You can see more pics and read more about him on a memorial website we created for him:
Thank you so much, James and Donna Islam