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Justin McNeley


U.S. Navy



PO3 Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley got into a gun battle when they drove into an insurgent stronghold in Logar province on Friday. PO2 McNeley, a 30-year-old father-of-two from Colorado, was killed in the firefight and his body was recovered on Sunday. PO3 Newlove’s body was recovered a few days later.

Both were instructors at a counter-insurgency school for Afghan forces, according to officials. Justin Mcneley was the son of a fire official in the city of Encinitas in northern San Diego County.

Justin was a Fourth Generation Sailor, having followed in the footsteps of his forefathers, who each served in the United States Navy. He planned to retire from the Navy as he thoroughly enjoyed serving and protecting our country each and every day. For this, we are especially proud that Justin made a significant contribution to the Navy with his bare hands and intelligence.

Justin was very proud of his two young boys. He talked about them constantly to others. He wanted them to know where he was, and bought them a huge map of Afghanistan to put on the wall in their bedroom. He liked to stay connected to all his family through phone calls and emails, never failing to say “I love you” before saying “goodbye”.

Justin had a heart made of pure gold and unselfishness. His self gratification was to make everyone else happy. His generosity was constantly displayed through kind and thoughtful gestures. Justin made a visit home this past May. He discretely planned this trip with the purpose of surprising the entire family, and it worked! Everyone was overjoyed for his visit home and we are thankful to have had that time with him and will cherish those memories always.

Justin worked hard and played harder. On his last trip to CO, he accomplished one of his dreams. He bought a brand new Dodge Challenger loaded with all the bells and whistles. When you saw him in his car, his face shined with pure joy. If anyone deserved a car like this, it was him. He knew how to reward himself for all the sacrifices he made throughout his life.

Not many people can live only 30 years and be as loved as Justin was. We are not amazed at the amount of people that loved him, as he was genuinely humorous, fun-loving, hard-working, kind and honest. Unlike most people, he made friendships that would last a lifetime. His friends cherished the relationships they had with him, as he made everyone feel special by the way he treated them as if they were family.

Justin was the life of any party, and his smile alone could light up the entire room. He could laugh with his eyes and he had a smile that made you love him more. It was impossible to get upset with Justin, as he was a charmer and knew how to make light of any situation.

Our family will forever view Justin as our Hero and admire him for his dedication and service to our Country. He once again was unselfish in sacrificing his own life to protect the safety of others. He made a positive difference in all of our lives and we will keep him forever in our hearts.


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