8/10/2006–Frederick, MD–Lance Cpl. James W, Higgins Jr., 22, a former member of the Frederick Composite Squadron in the Maryland Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), was one of four Marines killed July 27 during combat operations in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, according to news accounts.
More than 350 friends and family members gathered Aug. 4 at the Lynfield Event Complex in Frederick for funeral services, led by Chaplain Cmdr. Robert McGaha. He was buried with full military honors in the Veterans Memorial Garden of Honor at Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Frederick.
He joined the Frederick Composite Squadron in 1999 and received numerous decorations, including Most Gung-Ho Cadet in 1999 and Tri-Wing Encampment Honor Cadet in 2000.
"Higgins left our squadron, not too long ago, to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a very patriotic, top-shelf cadet, who raised the flag every morning in the front yard of his house in Thurmont," said Maj. Dave Lawlor, commander of the Maryland Wing's Group 1 and former commander of the Frederick Squadron. "I remember giving him many cadet orientation flights through the years. He will be missed."
According to The Frederick News-Post, the 2003 Catoctin High School graduate died of a gunshot wound to the chest. He had been stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., as a member of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
According to The Washington Post, after a brief time at Frederick Community College, Higgins enlisted in the Marines in April 2005, graduating in the top 5 percent of recruits going through boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. When he got the news that he was going to Iraq, he was excited, writing "OFF TO WAR!" on his calendar for Jan. 19.
Cpl. Higgins received the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Combat Action Ribbon and the Purple Heart.
Cpl. Higgins was on the honor roll all four years at Catoctin High. He was active in the school's football program, playing junior varsity in ninth grade and varsity from 10th to 12th grade.
He was also named most valuable player of his Catoctin Youth Association Baseball team and was the 1998 Catoctin Youth Association Football MVP on defense.
According to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, the three Marines killed with him were from Tennessee, Ohio and North Carolina, according to the DOD. They were based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 60,000 members nationwide. CAP volunteers perform 95 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state, and local agencies.
Members take a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to the almost 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP Cadet Program. CAP's cadet programs provide young men and women with a safe and motivating environment in which to grow and explore opportunities in the military and aviation industries. CAP has been performing missions for America for more than 63 years.
There are approximately 1,300 members of CAP in Maryland. Last fiscal year wing members flew 34 search and rescue missions and were credited with 23 finds.
For information about the Maryland Wing of CAP, visit http://mdcap.org/ or listen to weekly episodes of "Civil Air Patrol Today" broadcast every Sunday morning on the following radio stations:
In addition, programs may be listened to at the Maryland Wing web site at http://mdcap.org/radio/ and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.
Maryland Wing Public Affairs also offers an e-mail alert system for news releases. When news breaks, a subscriber receives an automatic e-mail with a summary of the news release and a link back to the story on the MDWG web site. Signing up for e-mail news alerts is easy. Just go to: http://mdcap.org/?fuseaction=newsalert.form and fill in your e-mail address.