James R. McIlvaine – Sergeant, United States Marine Corps


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release


DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

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

The following Marines died April 30, 2009, while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq:

Sergeant James R. McIlvaine, 26, of Olney, Maryland.

Staff Sergeant Mark A. Wojciechowski, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Sergeant McIlvaine was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.

Staff Sergeant Wojciechowski was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

For additional background information on Sgt. McIlvaine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at (760) 763-5397.

Marine From Montgomery Is Killed

James R. McIlvaine, who was born in Montgomery County, Maryland,  and met his future wife at a movie theater in Olney, Maryland, went on to become a sergeant in the Marine Corps.

“He loved his job. He loved what he did,” his wife, Sheryl, said last night. “He was proud to be a Marine.”

Sergeant McIlvaine, 26, died April 30, 2009,  in Iraq while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, the Pentagon said.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Twentynine Palms, California.

“He is my hero,” his mother, Joanne Ryan, who lives in Purcellville, Virginia, said last night. “He is my hero, my number one guy.”

She said she had just put a picture of the two of them on her Facebook page.

The sergeant was born at Montgomery General Hospital and graduated from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia.

After graduation, he joined the Marines, his wife said. The two, who had worked together during the summer of 1999 at a multiscreen movie house in Olney, were married in August 2001 and had two children, Michael, 7, and Alexa, 3.

“He loved his children . . . his family,” his wife said. Both families lived in Montgomery County, and his family included four sisters, she said.

“He was always going,” she said. “Full of energy. He absolutely loved being a Marine” and was loved and respected by the Marines who served with and under him, she said.

He was also a dedicated fan of Washington sports teams.

He “loved the Washington Capitals” and the Redskins, she said.

After one deployment in Afghanistan, he was on his first deployment in Iraq, his wife said. He was serving in a mobile assault platoon, according to a fellow Marine.

In addition to overseas deployments, which included time in Okinawa, he had served at the base at Quantico.

Sheryl McIlvaine said she wanted any account of her husband's life to say “how much he did love being a Marine.”

‘I was proud,' grandmother says of Marine

The grandmother of Olney native Sergeant James R. McIlvaine, killed Thursday in Iraq, characterized him as a man who longed to please his father, which is exactly what he did when became a Marine in 2001.

Sergeant McIlvaine joined the Marines after attending Sherwood High School and graduating from a military school in Virginia

“His father was very patriotic, loved the flag and country,” said Patty DeSimone, Sergeant McIlvaine's paternal grandmother, who said her grandson died in combat in Al Anbar province. “James felt the same way. His father missed out on serving, so when James joined, he was proud to have a son in the military. He was proud to see him in uniform. I was proud of him, too.”

Family members say he loved Washington sports, and when he was in the area, he frequently would take in a Capitals game. Sergeant McIlvaine's uncle said his nephew played hockey, and he was teaching his 7-year-old son the game.

Sergeant McIlvaine lived in Twentynine Palms, California.

“He was full of life,” DeSimone said. “And when he was around, he made everybody laugh. He will be greatly missed. He's one of those people that you knew when he was in the room.”

Sergeant McIlvaine is survived by his wife, Cheryl, son Michael and daughter Alexa, all of Twentynine Palms.

5 May 2009:

A memorial fund has been established for a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant who was killed in Iraq last week. The life and service of Sergeant James R. McIlvaine, 26, will be honored Wednesday night at Hall Funeral Home in Purcellville, Virginia.


McIlvanie was born in Olney, Maryland, and joined the Marine Corps after graduating from the Massanutten Military Academy in 2001.

His wife Sheryl M. McIlvaine and children Michael T. McIlvaine and Alexa N. McIlvaine live in Twentynine Palms, California. His mother Joanne E. Ryan, stepfather Mike S. Ryan and three of his four sisters, Shannon, Ally and Katie, live in Purcellville.

A visitation will be held from 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at Hall Funeral Home in Purcellville, with a memorial service at 8 p.m. Interment will be held at 1 p.m. May 12, 2009, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Middleburg Bank P.O. box 2250 Purcellville, Virvinia 20134. Make checks payable to Sergeant James R. McIlvaine Memorial Fund.




Widow Sheryl McIlvaine visits the grave of her husband, U.S. Marine Sergeant James R. McIlvaine, in
Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery October 19, 2009. McIlvaine was killed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 30,

  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/24/1982
  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/30/2009


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