Jourdan L. Grez – Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 485-05
May 16, 2005

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Private First Class Christopher R. Dixon, 18, of Columbus, Ohio
Lance Corporal Nicholas B. Erdy, 21, of Williamsburg, Ohio
Lance Corporal Jonathan W. Grant, 23, of Santa Fe, NewMexico
Lance Corporal Jourdan L. Grez, 24, of Harrisonburg, Virginia

All Marines were killed May 11 when their amphibious assault vehicle struck an explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Karabilah, Iraq.

Dixon and Erdy were assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Columbus, Ohio. Grant was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Grez was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Roanoke, Virginia.

For Operation Iraqi Freedom, these Marines’ units were attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).


17 May 2005:

Virginia Marine killed in Iraq combat; was born in New Jersey

RICHMOND, Virginia – A Harrisonburg man was among four Marines killed in recent combat in Iraq, the military said Monday.

Lance Corporal Jourdan L. Grez, 24, was killed May 11, 2005, when his amphibious assault vehicle struck an explosive device during combat in Karabilah, Iraq, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

Grez joined the military in the summer of 2003 to prove he was a worthy father to his young son, Colin, said Grez’s brother, Armand Grez III, 28, of Arlington.

“He basically did it all for his son,” he said. “He was just always a very purpose-driven person, and very honorable.”

Grez left for Iraq in March and expected to be home by Halloween, said his brother Aric Grez, 26, of Washington, D.C. His spirits had been fairly high, though he was a bit frustrated over being separated from Colin, who will turn 2 this summer, Armand Grez III said.

“He was trying to make it so he’d be able to give (Colin) a nice future someday,” said Grez’s father, Armand Grez Jr. “He absolutely adored his son.”

Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and the youngest of three sons, Grez was a gifted artist and loved sports, Aric Grez said. The family moved to Richmond when Grez was in elementary school.

His father said Grez was a very caring person who wanted to help others. After a car wreck killed a close friend in high school, Grez became a licensed emergency medical technician.

“He spent weekends working on ambulances around Richmond,” Armand Grez Jr. said.

Grez enrolled at James Madison University in Harrisonburg in 1999 as a finance major with a minor in international business, university spokesman Andy Perrine said.

Grez was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Roanoke.

The other three Marines killed were identified by the Department of Defense as Private First Class Christopher R. Dixon, 18, of Columbus, Ohio; Lance Corporal Nicholas B. Erdy, 21, of Williamsburg, Ohio; and Lance Corporal Jonathan W. Grant, 23, of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Their units were attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune.

“He was proud to be a Marine,” Armand Grez Jr. said.

Grez’s girlfriend, Lael Lovell, of Harrisonburg, said Grez was dedicated not only be being a good father to their son, but a good Christian. She told the Daily News Record in Harrisonburg that his death was “sacrificial.”

“Jourdan died with honor and pride,” Lovell said.

Plans for a memorial service have not been finalized, but Grez’s father said he would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

As Nation Remembers, Virginia Family Mourns
Marine Laid to Rest as Holiday Approaches
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, May 28, 2005

Yesterday, on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, when America honors its war dead, Marine Lance Corporal Jourdan Grez was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery — the 139th service member killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried there.

Grez, a resident of Harrisonburg, Virginia., was one of four Marines killed when their amphibious assault vehicle hit an explosive device in Karabilah on May 11, 2005.

A Marine honor guard presented two flags to the family of Lance Corporal Jourdan Grez, one to his mother and one to his 23-month-old son.

He leaves behind his parents, two brothers, his girlfriend and a 23-month-old son, Colin Lovell, who solemnly accepted a folded flag presented by a kneeling Marine yesterday while perched on his weeping mother’s lap.

More than 250 of Grez’s family, friends and former classmates at James Madison University gathered to pay tribute to the 24-year-old, who attended JMU from 1999 to 2004.

Miniature flags — placed on more than 250,000 graves by the 3rd U.S. Infantry, the Old Guard, as a Memorial Day tribute — dipped and whirled in the brisk warm breeze that swept through Arlington.

As Grez’s mother, Andrea Grez, sobbed, comforted by her husband, Navy chaplain Robert Rearick told the family that Grez’s sacrifice has an honorable history — “the same sort of sacrifice that has been made by others for this country since 1776,” he said.

With baseball caps doffed, a dozen veterans watched the ceremony from across the road. They were among tens of thousands of motorcyclists who have roared into town for the 18th annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom, to pay homage to soldiers who never made it home.

One, Gary Hollon of Middletown, Ohio, put his hand over his heart as the service began.

Just a week ago yesterday, Hollon buried his 20-year-old nephew, Lance Corporal Taylor Prazynski, nearby.

“Two or three graves from him,” Hollon said before the service, nodding at the Grez burial site.

As Grez’s family bent forward in grief and pressed tissues to their eyes, Colin wiggled down from the lap of his mother, Lael Lovell, and lay on his side on the ground, playing briefly with the artificial turf before being lifted back up.

Lovell and Grez met at a restaurant in Harrisonburg where both worked, family members have said. Colin was born in June 2003.

In order to better provide for the boy, Grez enlisted in the Marine Reserves and served with the 4th Combat Battalion, 4th Marine Division out of Roanoke. He was deployed to Iraq this year and was expecting to return in September.

“He joined the Marine Corps to prove to his girlfriend and his son that he was an honorable man,” his brother Armand Grez III, 29, of Arlington said shortly after his brother’s death.

As the wind rustled the trees overhead and aircraft from nearby Reagan National Airport roared by, Gunnery Sergeant Barry Baker presented Andrea Grez with the folded flag from her son’s casket. Her face swollen with tears, she pressed her hands to the memento on her lap. Her husband placed his hand over hers, and they leaned together on their seats in front of their son’s casket.

As Colin received the second flag, he gazed at Baker, looked down at the flag and then up at his mother, as his grandmother watched, tears streaming down her face.

DATE OF BIRTH: 01/22/1981
DATE OF DEATH: 05/11/2005


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