Marine Cpl. Joshua Hoffman, 39, a 2001 Wayland High School graduate, died Monday, Dec. 27.
Hoffman was paralyzed from the chest down when he was hit by a sniper’s bullet while on patrol in Iraq in January 2007. He had battled his life-altering injury since. He stayed at a Veterans Administration hospital in Virginia before returning to West Michigan.
Hoffman grew up in the Wayland area and joined the Marine Reserves in 2002, hoping to earn money for college. He planned to be a pilot.
He was part of the Grand Rapids-based Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment. He was sent to Iraq’s Anbar province in October 2006, where he was attached to the battalion’s Weapons Company in Fallujah.
Cpl. Hoffman was hit in the early morning of Jan. 6, 2007, as he pursued an insurgent. The bullet entered his neck and exited his shoulder blade, shattering his upper spine.
He received a medical discharge from the Marines in September of that year and he and his fiancée, Heather Lovell, moved into a handicapped-accessible apartment in Middleville.
Go rest high on the mountain. Your work on Earth is done.
Corporal Hoffman was a great Marine who fought ferociously for his life after a sniper’s bullet nearly ended it in Iraq. Despite the seriousness of his injuries, Josh remained the embodiment of Marine Corps Values: Courage, Honor and Commitment. Each time I had the opportunity to spend time with Josh, his courage as a warrior and pride as a Marine was evident. I extend condolences to all of Josh’s family, friends and fellow Marines. Semper Fidelis Josh, you served a longer and harder tour than any Marine I know. Joe Rossi, LtCol. USMC (Ret.)
Rest In Peace Josh! Your sacrifice will never be forgotten. Semper Fi!
Gunnery Sgt Neal