Sunday, August 26, 2007

Joshua Harmon remembered by family

Schofield Barracks Cpl. Joshua Harmon was eager to return to Hawaii and his new life with his bride, Kristin, whom he wed in the spring in a proxy marriage while he was deployed in Iraq.

"He just loved her dearly," said Harmon's mother, Donna, yesterday in a phone interview from Mentor-on- the-Lake, Ohio.

Family and friends are mourning the death of Harmon, one of 14 soldiers killed early Wednesday in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

Harmon, 20, was to return to Hawaii during the first week of October from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He was supposed to return about three months sooner, but his tour was extended.

Cpl. Joshua Harmon couldn't wait to return to Hawaii from Iraq to start his life with Kristin, his wife of several months.

Harmon and Kristin legally wed by proxy marriage in the spring when he found out that his yearlong tour in Iraq was extended by three months.

"He couldn't wait any longer," said friend Eric Lemr during a phone interview from Mentor, Ohio. Harmon had proposed to her earlier while he was on leave. The couple planned to start their married life together in Hawaii.

But Harmon, 20, of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, was one of 14 soldiers killed early Wednesday when their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq after it had experienced mechanical problems during a night mission.

Of the 14 soldiers, Harmon and nine others were assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. The Schofield soldiers, who were all passengers on the helicopter, belonged to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Harmon served as a combat medic and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

His mother, Donna, counted the days when her younger son was due to return home in the first week of October. "He was my baby. He was 20 years old. He had 42 more days to come home," she said.

Harmon's wife was planning to return to Hawaii next month to prepare for his arrival with a new apartment and car. The couple met at a nightclub in Hawaii while Kristin was in the islands for her aunt's wedding.

"She was the love of his life," Harmon's mother said.

The couple planned to have their formal wedding among family and friends next summer in Norfolk, Va., Kristin's hometown. Both wanted to have children.
"It's just a crazy, living nightmare," Harmon's mother said as she cried. "He was the most fun-loving, honest, caring person you would ever meet.

"It's not fair. He had so much to live for."

Kristin Harmon and her parents are due to arrive in Ohio today to be with Harmon's family. "She is having a rough time," Harmon's mother said.

"We'll all get through this. Josh would've wanted us to carry on and not be sad," she added. "That's the type of person he was."

Harmon, a 2005 graduate of Mentor High School, received the Army Medal Commendation of Valor after he saved a fellow soldier who suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Harmon got the soldier to the hospital where doctors were impressed with Harmon's treatment.

The soldier is recovering in a Maryland hospital, said Lt. Tim Serazin, of the Willoughby Hills Fire Department, where Harmon's father, Richard, serves as fire chief.

"Josh was every bit a soldier. He had a lot of compassion. He's a truly genuine kid," Serazin said.

Harmon joined the Army in August 2005 and was transferred to Schofield Barracks in April 2006 after he completed his advanced individual training in Houston. He had planned to attend medical school when he returned from Iraq.

Loved ones remembered how he had a great sense of humor and smile and easily made friends. "He made friends everywhere," his mother said.

He was also fearless and lived life to the fullest, said Lemr, the Ohio friend.

Harmon enjoyed music from country to rap and played the drums and guitar. He also liked working on cars.

He grew up in a small town near Lake Erie. During his deployment, he regularly kept in contact with his family and friends. "He loved his family. He loved his friends," his mother said.

Lemr, who had known Harmon all his life, said they regarded each other as brothers. "That's what we called each other," he said.

Lemr said he last spoke to Harmon on Monday when they talked about how he was to head back to Ohio for two weeks during the holiday season. Both had planned to celebrate their 21st birthdays together. Harmon was to have turned 21 on Nov. 25.

From the Star Bulletin

Related Link:
Joshua S. Harmon dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'