Marine dies on 3rd Iraq tour, 1 month from coming home

June 1st, 2005  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: Marine dies on 3rd Iraq tour, 1 month from coming home

By Lynn Thompson
Times Snohomish County Bureau

Shelly Starr has worried about her son, Jeff, since he left for Iraq on the eve of the war's outbreak in 2003.

His father, Brian Starr, said he didn't worry. Even when his son was trapped behind enemy lines in the assault on Fallujah in 2004, even during his third tour of duty this spring.

"I just knew he was going to be OK," Brian Starr said.

On Monday, two Marines in dress uniform were waiting when the family returned to their home outside Snohomish.

The Department of Defense said Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, 22, was killed a day earlier by small-arms fire while on patrol in Ramadi.

Cpl. Starr had decided to leave the Marines and was to fly home June 28.

"We were preparing for him to come home. This has been a blow," his father said.

His mother followed his movements by e-mail and through online discussions with other Marine mothers. She said the initial public interest in the war faded as people became saturated with combat news.

"The feeling seems to be there's too much war, that people don't want to read about it anymore," she said yesterday, in the family's living room where photos of him were set out on a coffee table.

They said Cpl. Starr, at 6-foot-2, was taller than everyone in his family, and that he liked being tall.

When he came home on leave last August, he was the one who was ready for fun, whether it was tubing on the Pilchuck River, or joining two high-school friends and their fathers for a weekend in Las Vegas.

"He was ready to go wherever, to meet whoever. He made so many friends," said Adam Nourigat, who graduated with him from Snohomish High School in 2001.

Cpl. Starr's sister, Hillary, a 24-year-old medical student in California, said her brother used to call her during test week and tell her how much he admired what she was doing.

"He was very supportive, very loyal," she said. "He cared about everyone."

As a 12-year-old, he wrote to the CIA to express his interest in becoming a spy. He refined his career goal to law enforcement and viewed service in the Marines as a first step.

His combat group, the 1st Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, was the first into Iraq after the outbreak of war, rolling across the border to secure the Rumaylah oilfields. A year later, his unit was trapped on a roof in Fallujah as enemy grenades exploded around them.

He told his father later that as he considered that he might die, his only regret was that he'd only known his girlfriend, a senior at the University of Washington, for six months. But he'd made his peace with God, he said.

"This was his job. He did it very well. He was proud of the work he was doing, and we were very proud of him," his father, a Snohomish accountant, said.

Cpl. Starr had enrolled in Everett Community College and planned to start there in the fall. He last talked to his mother by phone May 20, in what she described as his characteristic mumbling voice that only the highly trained could translate.

They ended the conversation the way they always did, with her telling him to be careful and that she loved him. Cpl. Starr told his mother that he loved her, too.

In addition to his parents and older sister, Cpl. Starr is survived by a younger sister, Emily. Services will be at the First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish early next week.
June 1st, 2005  
Rest in Peace Cpl Starr.
June 1st, 2005  
Rest In Peace.....

Man that really sucks. That man did his time in the J. Much respect to him and all those who gives their lives for their country like him.

But he'd made his peace with God
Glad to hear that he was ready to go if he had to. It somehow makes it seem like God's hand, not just fate.
June 1st, 2005  
Molly Pitcher
Yes indeed, rest in peace, and thank you - two words that don't even begin to say enough, still they should be said.
June 1st, 2005  
A Can of Man
He is a son that America can and should be very proud of.