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5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Oct. 8, 2014) – Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), place a memorial stand for Cpl. Jordan Spears on the flight deck of the USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as part of his memorial, Oct. 8. Cpl. Spears was lost at sea Oct. 1 during flight operations off the Makin Island. The 11th MEU is embarked with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and deployed to maintain regional security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Laura Y. Raga/RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Laura Y. Raga

Marines and Sailors Honor Cpl. Spears

14 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Demetrius Morgan

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Sailors with the USS Makin Island (LHD 8) gathered on the flight deck of the Makin Island to honor the life and memory of Cpl. Jordan Spears, Oct. 8.

Spears, a Memphis, Indiana native, who was lost at sea Oct. 1 during flight operations originating from the Makin Island, was a tilt rotor crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th MEU.

The ceremony started with three of Spears’ best friends -- Cpl. Rance Powell, Cpl. Jacob Sanders and Lance Cpl. Conlan Meyer --placing a rifle, aviation helmet, boots and dog tags on his memorial stand.

Prior to a slide show, which consisted of photos showcasing the life of Spears with his family and friends, his squadron commander addressed the crowd.

“Although Cpl. Spears cannot be with us in person, he will be with us in spirit,” said Lt. Col. Jason Holden, commanding officer of VMM-163 (Rein), 11th MEU.  “Every time an Evils Eye’s MV-22 takes off, he will be flying with us, guarding us from harm.  We will and we must move forward from the tragedy. However, Cpl. Spears will never be forgotten.”

To most, Spears was a fellow Marine who earned the respect and commemoration of those around him through to his strong work ethic and constant smile. To others who knew him on a more personal level, he was a partner and a friend who will forever be missed.  

“One thing he was good at was making people laugh, that’s just what he did,” said Cpl. Jonathan Pointer, a crew chief with VMM-163 (Rein), 11th MEU. “He will forever be with us in spirit. We will move on not because we have to, but because he would want us to.”  

Capt. Travis Gryde, a pilot with VMM-163 (Rein), 11th MEU, and Spears’ officer in charge, reminisced about his work ethic and efficiency.

“I may be biased but I believe flight line is the hardest working section in the squadron,” said Gryde.  “And Spears was one of the hardest working Marines we had.  I had no doubt that whatever aircraft Spears worked on would be in top condition. Sometimes Spears would have cuts and bruises all over his hands. He would put bandages and scotch tape on cuts that probably needed stitches. Spears’ responsibilities required him to put his own life in danger on a regular basis while responding to various calls from adjacent units. ”

“The relationship between a pilot and crew chief is very unique,” added Gryde. “They put their lives in our hands, as we put our lives in theirs.”

After the playing of taps by Petty Officer First Class Richard Neal, personnel in attendance lined up one by one to pay their final respects to Cpl. Spears.

Although the 11th MEU and USS Makin Island will move on and be ready to answer the nation’s call where ever they are needed. Cpl. Jordan L. Spears will always be remembered.

Marines from the 11th MEU are deployed with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group as a flexible, adaptable and persistent force in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Marine Corps News

Colonel James W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
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Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit