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Willis Loses American Hero

By Jamie Nash and Scott Engle

2Joseph D. Logan of Willis played many roles in his short 22 years on this earth. He was a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, and a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, where he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Cpl. Logan was one of six marines who perished on January 19, when their Vietnam era CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy-lift helicopter crashed while supporting combat operations in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The tragedy occurred just hours after “Joey” Logan spoke to his father, Tom Logan over the phone. Joey Logan was scheduled to wrap up his last deployment and return home on April Fool’s Day. It was also supposed to be the last mission for the aircraft that was older than its crew. Joey Logan told his father he planned to reenlist and remain as a career Marine working in Aviation Maintenance. With Joey halfway around the world and Tom at the family home in Willis that fateful day, the pair discussed plans for a trout fishing trip to the White River in Arkansas.

Fishing was a special part of the close bond between the father and son. Tom Logan says during Joey’s senior year in high school, after he enlisted, a freak accident occurred that jeopardized his dream. Joey fell on a piece of glass and severed all the tendons in one hand. Surgery reattached them, but Joey had no feeling in his hand and for a while was unsure if he would ever be a Marine.

Tom Logan and his wife Debi both retired from the Houston Police Department around the time Joey graduated, and Tom loved to fish. When Joey could not feel his hand, Tom Logan seemed to intuitively know the answer was putting a fly fishing rod in it. Shortly after Joey graduated from high school in 2008, his dad took him on a fishing trip that lasted all summer, through the Rocky Mountains including Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado. They even fished in British Columbia.

They were headed home, traveling through Wyoming during the start of antelope season. Joey wanted so badly to stay and hunt antelope, his dad says Joey tried to talk him into buying guns there and staying a while. But Tom Logan insisted they go home. The homecoming was short-lived, however. No sooner did they return to Willis than they loaded up their guns and headed back to Wyoming to hunt antelope.

During their travels that summer, Tom and Joey Logan visited historical landmarks and monuments, including Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. Tom believes the Mount Rushmore visit may have been what inspired his son to go into aviation. They took a long helicopter ride in the area, where they saw the sights, herded buffalo and felt the freedom that only comes from flying. Joey Logan was so impacted by the experience, he hung onto the ticket, which his dad now has. Tom Logan says his son’s test scores were so high, he could have chosen any specialized area, but his heart was in aviation.

Joey Logan had finished a tour in Afghanistan, returned home to Willis and married his sweetheart, Melissa Rushing. He then returned to Afghanistan for his second and final tour, with the same crew as his original tour. The squadron, known as the “Lucky Red Lions” is based in Kanoehe Bay, Hawaii. The others lost in the crash were Capt. Daniel B. Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Washington; Capt. Nathan R. McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Illinois; MSgt. Travis W. Riddick, 40, of Centerville, Iowa; Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, 23, of North Beach, Maryland; and Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, New Jersey.

The Lucky Red Lions were part of Joey Logan’s Marine family and shared his commitment to the service and his country, but members of his biological family are also serving in the military. His sister, Andrea, is a year younger but also managed to graduate in 2008 by taking accelerated classes. Andrea Logan followed in her brother’s footsteps by becoming a Marine and is currently in Tech School on the east coast. His oldest brother, Thomas “Tommy,” is in the U.S. Navy. Joey had another brother, Robert Logan, and another sister, Tricia Nickel.

Joey Logan was a decorated Marine, having earned an Air Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and NATO ISAF Medal.

Having served in the Middle East and laid the groundwork for his career and his future, Joey Logan was ready to come home. He was ready to be with his wife and his family and to fish with his dad again. Their plans were set and he was to return to Texas in two months. Last Thursday, around 2 p.m., Joey Logan was talking with his dad about his homecoming, and they both were excited.

Tom Logan had no way of knowing that eight short hours later, his world would be forever changed because the son he affectionately called “GI Joey” would no longer be part of it.

Around 10 p.m., Tom Logan was in bed and Debi Logan was in the kitchen. She heard a knock at the door and when she looked out, she saw two Marines. Debi Logan went to get her husband. Despite also having a daughter in the Marine Corps, Tom Logan says at that moment he somehow knew it was his son. His feeling and their worst fears were quickly confirmed as the Marines told the couple Joey’s helicopter crashed with no warning in a mountainous area of Afghanistan, leaving no survivors. According to NATO officials, there were no signs of enemy activity in the area.

Marine Cpl. Joseph Logan will now be returning home two months early, for a final goodbye.

The military arranged for the family to fly to Dover Air force Base, where the Marine Corps would send Joey’s body. His brother Tommy Logan was nearing the end of his Naval tour of duty, with his ship at a port in Spain and was about to leave Gibraltar for Norfolk, Virginia when he received the news and flew home. Their sister and fellow Marine, “Andi,” met the family in Dover and his widow Melissa accompanied his parents, Tom and Debi.

Marine Cpl. Joseph Daniel Logan is scheduled to be at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport at 10 a.m. on Monday where they will be escorted by the Houston Police Department, the Montgomery County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office and the Patriot Guard to Willis.

For patriots who want to show their respect and honor this fallen hero, the route is scheduled to be as follows:

Start time: 10 a.m. – Bush Intercontinental Airport to I-45 North

I-45 North to FM 1097 in Willis

Turn westbound (left) on FM 1097 to Longstreet.

Turn northbound (right) on Longstreet to Dairy Land.

Turn westbound (left) on Dairy Land into the Woodcreek Subdivision to Midway

Turn southbound (left) on Midway, making the loop past Logan’s family home, then back to Longstreet.

Turn southbound (left) on Longstreet to FM 1097

Turn eastbound (right) on FM 1097 to Smith Funeral Home

The viewing will be on Tuesday at Smith Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be in the Willis Civic Center on Wednesday. Logan will be cremated.













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