HARRISONBURG, VA, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, B CO, DET 1, 4TH MAR DIV, ROANOKE, VA
05/11/2005, KARABILAH, IRAQ
A Harrisonburg man was among four Marines killed in recent combat in Iraq, the military said Monday. Lance Corporal Jourdan L. Grez, 24, was killed May 11, 2005, when his amphibious assault vehicle struck an explosive device during combat in Karabilah, Iraq, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.
Grez joined the military in the summer of 2003 to prove he was a worthy father to his young son, Colin, said Grez’s brother, Armand Grez III, 28, of Arlington.
“He basically did it all for his son,” he said. “He was just always a very purpose-driven person, and very honorable.”
Grez left for Iraq in March and expected to be home by Halloween, said his brother Aric Grez, 26, of Washington, D.C. His spirits had been fairly high, though he was a bit frustrated over being separated from Colin, who will turn 2 this summer, Armand Grez III said.
“He was trying to make it so he’d be able to give (Colin) a nice future someday,” said Grez’s father, Armand Grez Jr. “He absolutely adored his son.”
Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and the youngest of three sons, Grez was a gifted artist and loved sports, Aric Grez said. The family moved to Richmond when Grez was in elementary school. His father said Grez was a very caring person who wanted to help others. After a car wreck killed a close friend in high school, Grez became a licensed emergency medical technician.
“He spent weekends working on ambulances around Richmond,” Armand Grez Jr. said.
Grez enrolled at James Madison University in Harrisonburg in 1999 as a finance major with a minor in international business, university spokesman Andy Perrine said. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Roanoke.
Grez’s girlfriend, Lael Lovell, of Harrisonburg, said Grez was dedicated not only be being a good father to their son, but a good Christian. She told the Daily News Record in Harrisonburg that his death was “sacrificial.”
Yesterday, on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, when America honors its war dead, Marine Lance Corporal Jourdan Grez was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery — the 139th service member killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried there.
He leaves behind his parents, two brothers, his girlfriend and a 23-month-old son, Colin Lovell, who solemnly accepted a folded flag presented by a kneeling Marine yesterday while perched on his weeping mother’s lap. More than 250 of Grez’s family, friends and former classmates at James Madison University gathered to pay tribute to the 24-year-old, who attended JMU from 1999 to 2004.
As Colin received the second flag, he gazed at Baker, looked down at the flag and then up at his mother, as his grandmother watched, tears streaming down her face.