Cpl. Joshua Stricken
(reprinted from PilotOnline.com, December 7, 2006)
Beach Marine one of four killed in Iraq copter crash
By RICHARD QUINN
A Virginia Beach Marine who had recently turned 24 drowned in Iraq when the helicopter he was riding in suffered a power problem and made an emergency landing on a lake.
Cpl. Joshua C. Sticklen was one of four service members who died in Sunday’s incident, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.
Sticklen, an intelligence specialist who enlisted in October 2002, is from Virginia Beach but lived with his wife, Jennifer, just off Marine Corps Base Hawaii. She is also in the military, as a member of the Army National Guard.
A Defense Department press release said Sticklen and Maj. Joseph T. McCloud, 39, of Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., were killed Sunday when the CH-46 helicopter they were in went down in Anbar province west of Baghdad.
Both men were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Earlier this week, the military identified the other servicemen killed as Air Force Capt. Kermit Evans of Hollandale, Miss., and Army Spc. Dustin M. Adkins of Finger, Tenn.
The Sea Knight helicopter they were in suffered “a power malfunction,” according to the military, and landed on Lake Qadisiyah. There were 16 service members aboard.
Out of fears the aircraft would tip or sink, most of them were evacuated out the back of the chopper when it touched down. Four drowned, according to military reports. The pilots managed to “surf-glide” the helicopter across the lake and up a boat ramp, a military spokesman said.
One Marine was pulled from the water – it’s unclear if it was Sticklen or McCloud – but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, the military said.
Three service members were found after a search. Twelve others survived.
Military officials said the cause of the power failure remains under investigation.
Word of Sticklen’s death spread quickly through his mother’s neighborhood as neighbors, family and friends stopped by Maggie Sticklen’s home on Juanita Court.
She is a former housing manager at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base. A small American flag attached to a plastic mailbox was the only hint at the Sticklen home Wednesday night of the family’s military involvement. A man who identified himself as a family friend said relatives were too emotional to talk.
A man who answered the door at the Kings Arms Drive home of Larry Sticklen, Cpl. Sticklen’s father, said the family expects to issue a statement in the next few days.
Cpl. Sticklen, who was serving at least his second tour in the Middle East, deployed to Iraq in September, according to Gunnery Sgt. Claudia de Leon, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Base Hawaii. He reported to Hawaii in July 2003, about six months after he graduated from boot camp, the spokeswoman said.
Sticklen also served in Afghanistan and had been awarded medals for service, de Leon said.