A memorial service for Marine Sgt. Justin F. Hoffman 27, of Delaware, Ohio, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 13, 2005 at the Grace Brethren Church of Powell, Ohio. Hoffman was killed Aug. 3 when his amphibious assault vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device while he was conducting combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq.
A graduate of Worthington (OH) Christian High School, the 6-foot, five-inch Hoffman was close to Pastor Fenton MacDonald of the Pataskala Grace Brethren Church, who will be conducting the memorial service. Hoffman’s middle name, Fenton, was in honor of Pastor MacDonald and Hoffman’s mother attends the Pataskala church.
Fenton MacDonald gave the following background:
“I first met Bob and Carole Hoffman while I was ministering in my first church in San Jose, California. It was a Home Missions church and we had less than 50 in the congregation at the time. Bob and Carole were only in the church for about six months or so and then a job transfer moved them to southern California.
While in the Bay area I helped them with some problems they were facing and when Carole became pregnant they wanted to surprise me by giving their son the middle name of Fenton in honor to me. After he was born they called and shared with the good news of his birth and that his middle name was the same as mine – Fenton. You see my name is Howard Fenton Mc Donald and I have been called Fenton all my life.
While in Southern California Bob and Carole attended the Orange Grace Brethren Church with Ed Trenner as their pastor. When Justin was old enough to travel they spent a weekend with my family in San Jose and I was able to dedicate Justin Fenton Hoffman to the Lord. It was an honor and privilege to be so close to the family.
They had two more sons and through job opportunities moved to Montana. I have kept in touch with them all these years encouraging and ministering to them as best a friend can from a distance. Later they moved to Delaware, Ohio, and were involved in the Delaware Grace Brethren Church with Jeff Gill as their pastor.
Justin attended Worthington Christian schools and graduated from the high school. He later graduated from Ohio State and later joined the Marines following in his dad’s footsteps.
The loss of Justin will be felt for years to come. He not only left behind his family but a young woman named Terri Price that he was going to get engaged to and marry upon his return from Iraq. But God is gracious and merciful at this time. We are all learning to lean upon Him more and more.”
The following notice is from “Honor the Fallen” on military.com, followed by an article from WBNS-10TV.
Marine Sgt. Justin F. Hoffman 27, of Delaware, Ohio; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Columbus, Ohio; attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed Aug. 3 when his amphibious assault vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device while he was conducting combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. Also killed were Marine Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Bell Jr., Lance Cpl. Eric J. Bernholtz, Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, Sgt. Bradley J. Harper, Cpl. David Kenneth J. Kreuter and Cpl. David S. Stewart.
Marine’s Family Shares Their Pain
In central Ohio, the families of Lima Company Marines, like Sgt. Justin Hoffman of Delaware, are awaiting the next step, the return of their loved one’s remains.
Even with the dangers of Iraq, Sgt. Justin Hoffman’s family did not think this tragedy was possible. In their eyes, Hoffman was like Superman. He was invincible. Without question, he was going to make it back alive.
Now, they are dealing with the truth that Justin isn’t coming home.
Justin’s mother, Carole Hoffman, says, “You’re not supposed to bury your children. Your children are supposed to bury you.”
Carole Hoffman and her family feel a pain and sadness that words hint at, but cannot fully capture.
Justin’s younger brother Tyler says, “He was a great brother and more than that he was a great friend.”
Justin’s other brother Travis says, “Me and Tyler and Justin were all going to grow old together; raise our children together.”
Huddled around the breakfast table, their faces tell the story of how much Sgt. Justin Hoffman meant to their lives.
His girlfriend Teri Price says, “He teased about proposing as soon as he got off the plane.”
His death is more than a life cut short, it’s a love cut short. Teri is the girlfriend Justin planned to marry.
Teri says, “I just, I can’t imagine my future without him. I loved him more than anything. Everything, just memories. I thought about all our plans that wouldn’t come to fruition.”
Last summer, Justin re-enlisted in the Marines knowing Lima Company was headed to Iraq. He wanted to be there to lead them in combat.
The decision cost him his life, but his mother says he died surrounded by family, his Lima Company family.
Carole says, “What they were doing over there was making a difference, is making a difference, and if we leave now their deaths would be for nothing.”
Justin’s family says they will see him again, in heaven.
NOTE: Pastor Kary Oberbrunner of the Powell, OH, GBC assisted in collecting material for this report.