View Full Version : 2/4 sergeant major killed in Iraq helo crash

02-10-07, 07:14 AM
2/4 sergeant major killed in Iraq helo crash

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Feb 9, 2007 20:30:10 EST

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – The Pentagon on Friday identified one of the seven service members killed in Wednesday’s crash of a Marine Corps helicopter as Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis, the top enlisted man with a Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based infantry battalion.

Ellis, 40, was the sergeant major for Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, which is operating in Iraq as the ground combat force for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).

Military officials on Friday also identified two other victims in the crash of the CH-46E Sea Knight as two sailors: Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Gilbert Minjares, 31, of El Paso, Texas, with Marine Aircraft Wing 14 from Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C.; and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel A. Ruiz, 21, of Federalsburg, Md., with 2nd Medical Battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The helicopter crashed in an area northwest of Baghdad, and an insurgent group in Iraq claimed to have shot it down. Pentagon officials have dismissed the claims but said the investigation into the crash is continuing. The Pentagon also called a video making the rounds on the Internet claiming to be of the helo being shot down as “inconclusive.”

Ellis, of Ashland, Ohio, graduated from boot camp in 1984 and trained as a radio operator. He served with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and deployed in 1990 to Saudi Arabia with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, according to his biography posted on the 15th MEU’s website. Over his 22-year career, he did several tours at the School of Infantry, was the battalion radio chief for 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment in Hawaii and worked as a canvassing recruiter in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ellis joined 2/4 in late 2003 and deployed to Iraq as the Headquarters and Service Company first sergeant. He became the battalion sergeant major on Dec. 17, 2004.

Among his personal awards and decorations are the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” and two gold stars and two awards of the Combat Action Ribbon.


02-10-07, 08:08 AM
Longtime Marine dies in Iraq

By: North County Times

CAMP PENDLETON --- A 23-year Marine veteran who had achieved the highest enlisted rank in the Corps died Wednesday in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Ellis, 40, of Ashland, Ohio, was the sergeant major of Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15 Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is a special operations team. The expeditionary unit is part of Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force.

According to biographical information from the unit, Ellis joined the Marines in 1984 and moved up the enlisted ranks, mostly in reconnaissance units. He served in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, and later served in Hawaii, North Carolina and on Camp Pendleton.

Little information about Ellis' death was available Friday evening. He died the same day and in the same region as the downing of a helicopter carrying seven U.S. troops, including two Marine pilots. It was not immediately clear whether Ellis died in the helicopter incident or elsewhere in the Anbar province.

His death brings the number of Camp Pendleton- and Miramar-based Marines to die in the war to at least 324.

Family members of Ellis could not be reached for comment. Ellis' military biography sketches out a career in communications and reconnaissance. He served as a radio operator and supervisor in Japan, and a communications instructor for an infantry school on Camp Pendleton.

After spending more than a year in the Middle East during the first Gulf War, he returned to Camp Pendleton as a company communications chief. He served a recruiting duty stint in Cleveland, just north of his hometown of Ashland, for three years, and then served a tour in Hawaii as a radio chief and a battalion communications chief.

As he continued to move through the ranks, he served as an infantry school instructor until the start of the Iraq war in 2003, when he returned to Iraq with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines. He was named the battalion's sergeant major in December of 2004.

Ellis' awards, according to his military biography, include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinction and one gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star and the Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star.