Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Sergeant Major Joseph J. Ellis, United States Marine Corps
His daughter called him “Superman.” Everyone else called him Sergeant Major. If you’re ever looking for a textbook definition of a Marine, try looking here.
There is very little I can add to that which has already been written and said about Sergeant Major. His actions taken to protect his Marines tell far more about the man than I ever could hope to do.
On February 7, 2007 the Sergeant Major was commanding a Marine checkpoint near a crowded place. He saw a man walking toward his checkpoint and correctly identified him as a suicide bomber. Out of any other options, the Sergeant Major did the only thing available to protect his Marines.
He put himself between the bomber and his Marines.
The suicide bomber quickly detonated himself. The Sergeant Major was killed instantly.
Usually that’s where the story ends. Today, however, I can give you, via Blackfive, the rest of the story.
I don’t know how well Sergeant Major Ellis knew Corporal David Emery, Jr. Maybe he knew the Corporal well, maybe he didn’t. Regardless of what their relationship was, Sergeant Major Ellis absorbed just enough of the blast to spare the life of Corporal Emery – for now.
Corporal Emery’s status is now “hour to hour” after a tough round of surgery yesterday. At his side you’ll find his beautiful wife Leslie who is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
My prayers are with Corporal Emery and his young family. There are many reasons why Sergeant Major Ellis put himself between the terrorist and Corporal Ellis. First among them is that Corporal Emery was one of his Marines.
Another reason, perhaps, is so that another little girl can look at her father and call him “Superman”.
Godspeed Sergeant Major Ellis. Greater love hath no man than this.
Here endeth the lesson.