Services honor sacrifices of slain
Peers, family and friends remember five Schofield soldiers and two Kaneohe Marines
By Gregg K. Kakesako

Tributes and memorial services were held throughout this week on the mainland and Iraq for the five Schofield Barracks soldiers and two Kaneohe Marines killed in separate incidents last week.

Today, a wake was to be held in Alexandria, Va., for Kaneohe Marine Maj. Joseph Trane McCloud, of Wayne, Mich., who died Dec. 3 when the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter he was riding crashed into Lake Qadisiyah in Al Anbar province. McCloud would have been 40 today. Also killed in the crash was Cpl. Joshua Sticklen, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va. Both were assigned to Kaneohe Bay's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

Wade Hutchens, who was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity with McCloud and graduated with him from the University of Tennessee in 1989, said his friend's funeral will be held in Alexandria, Va., tomorrow, followed by burial in the afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He gave his life so thousands all over the world could have a better one," Hutchens said by telephone from Asheville, N.C. "This Friday, he deservedly will join the greatest patriots America has ever known in the Arlington National Cemetery."

Hutchens said a trust fund has been established for McCloud's widow and the couple's three young children. Donations should be sent to the McCloud Family Fund, c/o Barnes & Sherry Financial Management, 713 Main St., Port Jefferson, N.Y. 11777.

Hutchens said checks should be made payable to Margaret McCloud, his widow. Anyone wishing their contribution to be specifically for the children's education fund should make checks to College America, he added.

The Sticklen family released a statement following their son's funeral service yesterday at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Va.

"We will remember Joshua as being a very loving, charismatic and caring young man. He was a devoted husband, a loving son/brother/uncle, and was proud to be a Marine and serving his country. We are all proud of his commitment to the Corps, his devoted service to his country and we are all extremely proud of his many accomplishments," the release said.

"Josh sacrificed his life by doing what he focused on his entire life ... helping others. Although we're positive he would have preferred to pass in the presence of his family and friends, we're sure he was comforted knowing he made the ultimate sacrifice with those he adored and respected ... his fellow Marines."

An intelligence specialist, Sticklen served a combat tour in Afghanistan before deploying to Iraq. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, who also served in the Marine Corps; mother, Maggie Sticklen; father Larry Sticklen; and sisters April and Tricia.

Yesterday in Iraq, the five Schofield Barracks soldiers killed when their Humvee struck a roadside bomb on Dec. 6 in Hawija were remembered at a memorial service held at Forward Operating Base McHenry.

Although the 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds" Regiment hasn't reached the halfway point in its yearlong Iraqi deployment, it has suffered nine losses. They account for nine of the 14 deaths the 25th Division has suffered since it arrived in Iraq in September.

The death of five soldiers Dec. 6 during a special humanitarian mission was the largest single-day loss for the Tropic Lightning Division since the Vietnam War.

In a written statement, Lt. Col. Drew Meyerowich, who assumed command of the 2/27th after the battalion returned from Afghanistan last year, said: "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these incredible soldiers. The void in our ranks is inconsequential compared to the void that these honorable men have left in the lives of their loved ones, friends and fellow soldiers.

"Sgt. Jesse Castro, Sgt. Joshua Madden, Cpl. Jason Huffman, Cpl. Yari Mokri and Pfc. Travis Krege will always be missed. They will always be a part of our lives and they will always be Wolfhounds."