- Cpl J.R. Spears
The Marine Corps League was founded by Major General John A. Lejeune (CMC), in 1923 and chartered by an Act of Congress on August 4, 1937. Its membership of 60,000 is comprised of honorably discharged, active duty and Reserve Marines with 90 days of service or more, and retired Marines. It includes officer, enlisted, male and female members.
The Marine Corps League is headed by an elected National Commandant, with 14 elected national staff officers who serve as trustees. Day-to-day operations are under the control of an executive director who supervises the day-to-day performance of the national headquarters staff, located at 8626 Lee Highway in Fairfax, Virginia.
The prime authority of the League is derived from its charter and from its annual national convention held in August in different major U.S. cities throughout the nation. The National Commandant has operational control over the National Headquarters staff and the National Board of Trustees, who in turn coordinate the efforts of 47 department, or State entities, and the activities of over 812 community-based detachments located throughout the United States and overseas.
The League is classified as a Veterans/military service organization and was formed for the purposes of promoting the interests of the U.S. Marine Corps; to provide camaraderie and assistance to Marines, as well as to their widows and orphans; and to preserve the traditions of Revenue Service Code 501 © (4), with a special group exemption letter which allows for contributions to the Marine Corps League, its Auxiliary and subsidiary units, to be tax deductible by the donor.
J.R. Spears was born in Pensacola, Florida on June 30, 1984 to Tim and Marie Spears of Molino, Florida. J.R. grew up in Molino and attended Bratt Elementary School, Barrineau Park Elementary School, and Ransom Middle School J.R. graduated in 2002 from Tate High School Where he was an Offensive Lineman for the Tate Aggies. Following graduation, J.R. attended Pensacola Junior College and made the Dean’s list. During this time, J.R. succeeded in his goal of losing eighty pounds so that he could fulfill his life-long dream of becoming a United States Marine.
J.R. enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2003 and completed Recruit Training at Parris Island, South Carolina and graduated the Infantry School at Camp Geiger, North Carolina in February 2004.
J.R.’s first permanent duty station was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine regiment, in 29 Palms, California. While stationed there, J.R. completed several specialized training courses and was particularly proud of receiving his EMT certification. From April through October 2004, he served his first tour of duty in Iraq.
In September 2005, J.R. and his unit were deployed to Iraq for a second tour of duty. On October 23, 2005, J.R.’s unit was attacked by Iraqi enemy forces in AR Ramadi, Iraq. J.R. was killed in action by an enemy sniper during this encounter and was the sole casualty in his unit.
Corporal J.R. Spears died in Iraq doing what he loved and believed in while serving his country as proud Marine. J.R. felt it an honor to serve his country and to serve with other proud Marines. In letters he wrote home, J.R. related that he wished all Americans could witness the many successes and accomplishments being achieved in Iraq by his unit and his Marines. While acutely aware of the dangers he faced daily, J.R.’s patriotism never faltered and his selflessness remained evident. Shortly before his death, J.R. told his parents that if a Marine in his unit had to die, he would rather it be him than a fellow Marine who had a wife and children back home.
In 2008, J.R. was joined in heaven by his loving and faithful mother, Marie Spears. Along with his father, Tim Spears, J.R. is survived by his sisters, Jessica and Jennifer, a large host of fellow Marines, and a grateful and humble nation.