Oldest US Casualty Died a Hero

Sgt. John Marshall
Sgt. John Marshall

At nearly 50 years old, Sgt. First Class John Marshall from Hinesville was the oldest soldier killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He died during an enemy ambush on the April 8. WTOC spoke with his wife, Denise, who found out her husband was truly a hero. She waited for days to find out what happened to him, and when she learned the truth, she realized he died a proud man.

Denise says some of her husband's committed qualities have rubbed off on her. She hasn't stopped providing daycare to her customers since she found out he was killed in Iraq. She tells us that despite his age, he had not thought about getting out of the military.

"We were disappointed, because we didn't have too much information," Denise said.

Then on Monday, she received a phone call from his colonel in Iraq, who explained. Sgt. Marshall was brave enough to take over a job he wasn't even assigned to, leading a large convoy that came under an enemy ambush. He climbed up into the gunner's position and took over. That's when a rocket-propelled grenade was launched, killing him.

"I was like, 'That was him, that was him to a T, to a T,'" said Denise. And she says she and all of their children are proud.

"I think I sort of grew a few inches you know, it was a relief knowing what happened to him as well as the pride of knowing how he died," he said.

Denise says she is trying to keep as much routine in her life and her children's life as possible. They will be holding a special memorial service for him in the very near future.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com