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LCpl. Joshua Dickenson

(reprinted from the Tampa Tribune, December 16, 2004)
Marine “Insisted On Going Back’

NEW PORT RICHEY — A Marine with ties to Pasco County is among the latest U.S. military personnel to die in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Joshua W. Dickinson, 25, died Sunday fighting in Anbar province, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a news release Wednesday.

A Tennessee native, Dickinson had lived in Citrus and Pasco counties since the late 1990s, working at Asbestos Certified Technicians Inc. in Land O’ Lakes before joining the Marines last year, family friend John Tidd said.

“He was hit by shrapnel a few months ago, and they were going to send him back,” said Tidd, 51, who lives with Dickinson’s aunt, Rebecca Robertson, in Moon Lake. “He insisted on going back out.”

Dickinson was an assaultman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

A Camp Pendleton spokesman Wednesday said the Marine Corps does not discuss battle details.

Dickinson’s personal awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal, the military release said.

Dickinson is survived by his father, Benjamin, who divides his time between Tennessee and California; his older sister, Frances M. Dickinson, who has lived in Pasco; and an older brother, Benjamin Dickinson Jr., of Tennessee, according to Tidd and public records.

Tidd said Dickinson will be buried Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tenn., probably next to his mother, Linda, who was killed by a drunken driver in California about 12 years ago.

Dickinson sent letters from the front to his sister, Tidd said, but he was not familiar with the contents.

“He was very outgoing, very well-mannered and easygoing,” Tidd said. “He loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing.”

Eight Marines were killed Sunday in separate incidents in Anbar province, a vast region in western Iraq comprising the battleground cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

As of Wednesday, at least 1,303 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.