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Local Soldier Killed in Iraq

by DJ Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004 at 8:45 PM

William C. James, 24, was killed in action in the al-Anbar province in the Sunni Triangle Nov. 10.

Decorated Surf City Marine Dies in Iraq

William C. James, 24, was killed in action in the al-Anbar province in the Sunni Triangle Nov. 10.

By Dave Brooks

November 18, 2004

William C. James spent his childhood searching for his calling, and when he decided to join the Marine Corp. after graduating from Huntington Beach High, he felt like he finally found a match.

Friends and neighbors said James took an immediate liking to the discipline and honor of military life and planed to make a career for himself in the service. Sadly his life ended Nov. 10 during heavy fighting in Iraq. He was 24 years old.

Officials with the Camp Pendleton Marine Base said James died fighting alongside two other American soldiers. The circumstances surrounding James' death have not been made public, but the al-Anbar province where he was killed is known as the Sunni Triangle and includes Fallouja, a city where the U.S. military is wrapping up a bloody offensive to retake the city from insurgents.

James was a highly decorated soldier who friends said eagerly planned to make a career out of his service with the Marines. His achievements include the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for exemplary service beyond the normal call of duty. He was a rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Neighbors described James as a polite man who generally kept to himself. A California native, James and his family eventually moved to North Carolina and then Huntington Beach during his senior year of high school.

Former Neighbor Jeff McMullens who used to live next door to James on Constitution Drive in Huntington Beach, said James was friendly but generally shy.

"He didn't say to much, but I always thought he was a good kid," McMullens said. "I knew him because he bred a Rottweiler that I later bought."

James graduated from Huntington Beach High School in 1998, but felt lost and decided to follow in his families' footsteps and enlist in the Marine Corps. His grandfather was a former merchant marine, McMullens said, and his father was enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War.

"I think he really found something that he enjoyed in the Marines," McMullens said. "He planned to make a career out of his service."

His parents, C.J. and William James Sr., moved to Oceanside after their son left for the military.

"This is a really difficult time for our family, I have lost my only son," said C.J. James, who added that she was too distraught to go into the details of James' life. James is also survived by his two sisters Lynn and Leah, and his brother Shy.

A private service will be held for James on Saturday [November 20].
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AP Article DJ Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004 at 8:48 PM
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