Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

John R Stalvey

Conroe, Texas

October 3, 2005

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Marine Cpl

3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

 Killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Iron Fist in Karabilah, Iraq.


From The Florida Times-Union jacksonville.com 03/13/12:

State representative "rights wrong" with resolution praising fallen Georgia Marine
Corporal also served in Afghanistan where he earned bravery medal.
Posted: March 13, 2012 - 12:06am | Updated: March 13, 2012 - 8:21am

By Terry Dickson 
The Georgia House adopted a resolution Monday recognizing the service of Cpl. John R. Stalvey, who died Oct. 3, 2005, when the Humvee he was driving struck a mine in Iraq.
Sponsor Alex Atwood, R-Brunswick, said he was simply “righting a wrong’’ and that Stalvey, who was 22 when he died, should have been recognized years earlier. Atwood said he may have been missed because his address of record was in Texas.
When he enlisted in March 2002, Stalvey was living with his uncle, A.P. Merillat, near Houston, but he went to school in Ludowici and Brunswick, where his divorced parents live and where he is buried.
“If you can recognize a football player or a rap star, you’ve got to recognize him,’’ Atwood said.
Atwood said he learned of Stalvey when he went to a veteran’s observance at Gulfstream Aerospace’s Brunswick facility.
“I saw a Marine uniform on display and asked what it was,’’ he said.
He said he was told it was to honor the son of Billy Stalvey and Crystal Merrilat, who work at Gulfstream.
“I was just there to cut the cake, and I found a hero,’’ he said.
The resolution recognizes Stalvey for his deployment to Afghanistan from May until October 2004, for which he was awarded the Marine Corps Achievement Medal for Bravery for driving 16 Marines out of harm’s way in an improvised explosive device blast. It mentions his service in Iraq where he had been only a month when he died.
Stalvey’s mother and his brother and sister, Matthew and Cristen Stalvey, attended the event. His father was ill and could not come, Atwood said.
Three Marines also came from Gulfstream, Atwood said.

From The Florida Times-Union jacksonville.com 05/07/06:

Marine's life inspires his friends and family

The Times-Union, 

BRUNSWICK -- A dozen Marines paid their last respects Saturday to Cpl. John R. Stalvey, a member of their platoon killed in October by a mine in Iraq.

The Marines from the sniper platoon of the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Marines gathered around Stalvey's black grave maker just after 4 p.m. for a memorial service. They stood somberly in a circle closed by Stalvey's brother, Matt, mother Crystal Merillat, and other family members.

The Marines traveled to Brunswick two days after their battalion, which arrived home from Iraq on March 23, held a memorial service at Camp Lejeune, N.C., for the eight Marines killed during its deployment.

"John was a great brother. You all know that,'' Stalvey said as he led the memorial service for his brother. As he spoke, he clutched a Bible in his right hand and placed his left hand just above the Marine insignia atop his brother's monument.

He recalled his brother as a staunch Christian and an inspiration.

Cpl. Mike Guffey stepped to the back of the circle and wept, as others did later.

"He would want everyone here to pick up and go on with their lives,'' Stalvey said.

A few have their lives on medical hold.

Lance Cpl. Brandon Andrukitis and Cpl. Jake Morris are both being treated for wounds suffered in the explosion beneath a Humvee that killed Cpl. Stalvey. Andrukitis, who was driving, suffered a concussion, a broken jaw and just had another surgery to repair his foot. He is being treated as an outpatient at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Morris suffered broken ribs and lost the sight in his right eye. A pair of thin black brackets are visible through the skin at the top of his right cheek.

"It's good to get everybody together to honor our buddies,'' Morris said.

Morris said he wants to remain a Marine if there is some way he can continue as a sniper.

The land mine they hit was actually three 155mm artillery rounds and two propane tanks, Andrukitis and Morris said.

When the Marines spoke during the service, all spoke of Cpl. Stalvey's determination and faith.

"I'm not much of a churchgoer,'' Cpl. Jason Baer said. "John convinced me to go to church. That says a lot.''

Sgt. Jeremy Riddle recalled a Marine who never wavered in his Christian beliefs, refusing to drink or give in to anything else he thought was wrong.

"He was a good Marine, but he was a cut above,'' Riddle said.

"He helped me get through some stuff, too,'' said Guffey, who had been Cpl. Stalvey's roommate. "He helped me fight past some things.''

Guffey said it was good to just hang out with Cpl. Stalvey.

As others have done before, Gunnery Sgt. Donald Rieg praised the family for its strength and said, "You helped everybody in the platoon. Just being around y'all gave everybody strength.''

Merillat fingered a replica of her son's dog tags as she circulated among the Marines and their families.

"It was awesome, awesome. It was a wonderful feeling to have these guys here with us,'' she said.

She told the Marines her son had told her to take care of his buddies if any of them ever came by. She took them all to her house for dinner after the service.

Not all the Marines there served with Cpl. Stalvey. Lance Cpl. Randy Tapley of Brunswick, a reservist still on active duty, asked if he could come to the service to pay taps and another Marine played Amazing Grace and other songs on his saxophone.

First Sgt. David Devaney delivered word of Cpl. Stalvey's death to his family in October. At the memorial service Saturday, he choked up at the memory as he reminded the Marines Cpl. Stalvey gave his life for his country and to preserve their way of life.

"Don't you dare dishonor him by wasting your life,'' Devaney said. "Live a great life.''

From The Florida Times-Union jacksonville.com 10/05/05:

Mine kills Brunswick Marine in Iraq

The Times-Union, 

BRUNSWICK -- A Marine from Brunswick was killed Monday by a mine while on a combat operation in Iraq, his father said.

Cpl. John R. Stalvey, 22, was driving a Humvee when it struck a mine, killing him and wounding three other Marines in the vehicle, said his father, Billy Stalvey of Brunswick.

Billy Stalvey said he was informed of his son's death by several Marines who came to his workplace at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. at the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.

"I'm very proud of him,'' he said.

After graduating from Marine sniper school in Quantico, Va., Cpl. Stalvey had been back in Iraq for about a month where he was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, his father said.

Asked if his son had planned to make Marine Corps service a career, Stalvey said he was planning on re-entering civilian life next August.

"He had just met a young lady in Jacksonville, N.C. They were getting pretty serious. He was looking forward to getting out and starting a life with her,'' Stalvey said.

Cpl. Stalvey had been in the Marines about four years and had enlisted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"He joined because of 9/11. He wanted to serve his country and keep us free,'' Stalvey said.

The younger Stalvey was a graduate of Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici.

Billy Stalvey said he hopes to hold a funeral for his son Monday at Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home in Brunswick, but that is dependent on the return of the body.

In addition to his father, Cpl. Stalvey is survived by his mother, Crystal Merillat; a brother, Matt; a sister, Cristen, and his stepmother, Kim Stalvey, all of Brunswick. He is also survived by a grandmother, Letha Stalvey of St. Simons Island.

Conroe Marine dies in combat in Iraq
The corporal joined up soon after 9/11 attacks
RENEE C. LEE, Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Published 05:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 5, 2005
CONROE - A 22-year-old Marine, who joined the military shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, died when he drove a military vehicle over a roadside bomb during combat, his family said Tuesday.
Cpl. John R. Stalvey died Monday during Operation Iron Fist in Karabilah, Iraq, said military officials. The operation was intended to take control of areas from insurgents before the Oct. 15 vote on a new constitution.

Stalvey, a scout sniper, was based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.

A.P. Merillat, Stalvey's uncle, said military officials told him that his nephew was driving an armored Hummer and traveling with three Army soldiers when the bomb exploded. ''They said he took the full brunt of the explosion," Merillat said.

The military said the death was the first in Iron Fist. The number of U.S. military members killed since the beginning of the war in 2003 stands at 1,941, according to an Associated Press count.

Merillat said Stalvey was born June 6, 1983, in Jacksonville, Fla., but spent most of his life in Brunswick, Ga. He graduated from Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, Ga., in June 2001.

Stalvey moved to Conroe to live with Merillat and his wife, Anne, shortly after graduation. He worked with the Montgomery County Animal Control Department and was an active member of Mims Baptist Church in Conroe.

Merillat said his nephew joined the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said Stalvey believed it was his duty to protect his country against terrorism.

Merillat said Stalvey asked him to take him to the recruiting center, where he was told boot camp was full.

He had to wait until March 2002 to attend boot camp in Parris Island, S.C.

A.P. Merillat said Stalvey had tours of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Africa before he was called to serve in Iraq in August. He had just finished sniper training at Camp Lejeune.

''Sniper school was his goal, his dream," A.P. Merillat said.

Anne Merillat described her nephew as a Christian who loved to hunt, fish, draw and sculpt. He also was ''the most patriotic person I've ever known," she said.

She said Stalvey made the couple a sculpture that they cherish: a bust of a colonial soldier, which he called ''Patriot."

The couple said the last time they saw Stalvey was in December when he visited Texas with his mother, Crystal Merillat, and his older brother Matt Stalvey and younger sister Cristen Stalvey, who all live in Brunswick, Ga. The Merillats have a large family, and most of them live in the Houston area.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Explosion kills Brunswick Marine in Iraq

Associated Press

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A Marine from Brunswick was killed in Iraq when the Humvee he was driving struck an improvised explosive device.

Cpl. John R. Stalvey, 22, had been with the Marines for four years.

“He joined because of 9/11,” his father, Billy Stalvey, said. “He wanted to serve his country and keep us free.”

Stalvey said his son had planned to leave the military next summer.

“He had just met a young lady in Jacksonville, N.C.,” Stalvey said. “They were getting pretty serious. He was looking forward to getting out and starting a life with her.”

Three Marines who were in the same vehicle were also wounded in Monday’s incident.

After graduating from Marine sniper school in Quantico, Va., Cpl. Stalvey had been back in Iraq for about a month where he was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, his father said.

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