HANCOCK, NY, USA U.S. Army SSG, COMPANY B, 3D BATTALION, 5TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, FORT CAMPBELL, KY MOSUL, IRAQ 01/19/2008
Staff Sergeant Justin R. Whiting, 27, a Special Forces medical sergeant assigned to Company B, 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Ky., sustained fatal injuries when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
From Sergeant First Class Brian B. Stefanko – Fellow Medic on Justin’s team:
Justin was born to be a great man, becoming a Green Beret because it was in his blood. Justin was my friend because of the man he was, a man who was uncompromising and committed, funny and caring. Justin was the kind of man that people either loved or hated, but in Justin’s case, you couldn’t help but love him, and you always knew where you stood with him. Justin wasn’t politically correct or polite, but that was part of what made Justin great. He would tell you what he thought, even if he knew it was something that you didn’t want to hear. Justin was the most honest and uncompromising guy that anyone could ever know. I could always count on Justin to get the truth, he would never lie about how he felt, and was consistently saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, even when he knew better. It was just unacceptable to Justin to say anything different or to keep his opinion to himself Commitment was something that Justin lived. He was good at everything that he did; failure was not an option. He was committed to the Army, to the Team, but most of all his friends. Justin was the kind of guy that would do anything for a friend, no matter what. I could always count on Justin to make the best out of a bad situation, no matter how miserable we were he would always make it better with a joke Justin was the consummate joker and always could make everyone laugh.
As a medic Justin could be counted on to give the best treatment possible.. Justin was constantly caring for those around him, all the while joking about how they were weak and making fun of them as long as they were truly OK. Justin has affected the lives of dozens. He has saved the lives of Iraqi soldiers on several occasions, and treated civilians and their children with chronic illnesses, and nurtured sick teammates back to health.
Justin’s time with us was too short, but I am sure that I can speak for everyone that has ever met Justin that he has affected our lives and he will never be forgotten Justin, I will miss you so very much and suffer at your loss. I can only hope that wherever you are, there are herds of deer and you are happy.
From Justin’s Dad:
Justin was a great story teller – we miss his stories. He had a great laugh and a – “I am really just bull-shittin you” grin when he told them. And you never really knew whether he was or wasn’t but he made you want to hear more no matter what.
His eyes held the true story of a survivor. He had seen much in his short life and tried to put it all in perspective. He had come to appreciate all that was before him. He had reached a plateau where he knew who he was and was happy with that. He left the Army and tried to find himself in some childhood dreams and realized they were just childhood dreams. He had outgrown them. So he went back to the Army to achieve more of what he was good at.
He grew the beard when he was out of the Army for six months. We treasure that time we had with him. We didn’t realize those times would be our last. The beard holds a special significance because of that.