COVINGTON, KY, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, H&S CO, 3D BN, 8TH MAR (2-28 BCT, I MEF FWD) 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC AR RAMADI, IRAQ 04/15/2006
A Marine from northern Kentucky died in fighting over the weekend in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Monday. Lance Corporal Justin Sims, 22, of Covington died Saturday when the Humvee he was riding in struck a roadside bomb during combat operations in Anbar Province, the Department of Defense said.
He was among four Marines who died, the department said. Lance Corporal Derrick J. Cothran, 21, of Avondale, La.; Corporal Pablo V. Mayorga, 33, of Margate, Fla.; and Pfc. Ryan G. Winslow, 19, of Jefferson, Ala., also were killed in the explosion.
Sims had lived with his mother, Alma Jones, in Covington, and attended Holmes High School, where he graduated in 2003, said his father, Beechie Sims.
“He loved the Marines and what they stood for,” Beechie Sims told the Cincinnati Enquirer. He joined the Marines after graduation, his father said. Justin Sims married in December 2004, just before heading to Iraq for his first tour of duty.
He returned to Iraq a month or so ago, the last time Beechie Sims heard from his son.
“He called me from Kuwait when he first got over there,” Beechie Sims said. “He just told me he was getting ready to be deployed to Ramadi and that’s where he got killed.”
Mike Wills, a former assistant principal at Holmes, said he saw Sims in December, when he stopped for a visit while on leave.
“I told him he was being put in my prayers and to keep his head down, that I’d be worried about him,” said Wills, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who fought in Vietnam and Liberia.
“He was one of those young men who really felt he wanted to choose a career in the military. To a certain extent, Justin followed the lead of those he saw before him.”
Justin Sims is survived by his wife, Leah, and six half-sisters, Beechie Sims said. Sims was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.