U.S. Marine Corps
Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins, 24, of Paris died Aug. 6, 2009, in Farah Province,
Afghanistan, as the result of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by a
Sgt. Jay Michael
Hoskins was born Jan.
26, 1985, in Paris to Michelle Sparks Hoskins and Danny Hoskins of Paris. He
attended Aaron Parker Elementary School and graduated in May 2003 from North
Lamar High School. He was active in youth baseball and football and in high
school was named All Red River Valley in Football. While growing up, he
attended Gospel Lighthouse in Powderly.
After graduation, Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins proudly joined the U.S. Marine Corps, graduating from
boot camp in San Diego, Calif., a private first class. In 2004, he was
deployed to Iraq and fought in the Battle of Fallujah with the 1st Battalion
3rd Marine Regiment, later deploying for seven months in 2005 in the Tora
Bora area in the Afghanistan mountains, receiving his first Afghanistan
Campaign medal. He was the recipient of three combat action ribbons, three
sea service deployment ribbons, an Iraqi Campaign medal, a Navy Marine Corps
Achievement medal, a National Defense Service medal, a Global War on Terror
Service medal, a Good Conduct medal and now a Purple Heart along with other
pending medals as well as rifle and pistol expert badges.
From 2005 to 2008, Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins served as a member of a training cadre in infantry
tactics for Marine officers at MCB Quantico, Va. He was also a Marine mixed
martial arts black belt instructor.
In 2009, Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd
Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Marine Corps
Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and deployed to Afghanistan in May along with 1,000
other Marines to Helmand and Farah provinces.
Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins was an unwavering Christian devoted to his wife, children, family and
country. He was an outstanding Marine who was mature beyond his years. He
received many medals and commendations to support that and advanced in rank
quickly. He had a good, strong work ethic and strong faith in God instilled
in him by his grandparents. His goal in life was to be an outstanding
husband, father and American and each goal was met and surpassed. A true
American hero who did not ask for fame or fortune, just that we recognize,
we are all here, free, today, because the fallen have paid the price.
Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins was preceded in death by his grandfather, Dee Hoskins of Paris.
Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins leaves behind his loving wife, Chandler McRae Hoskins of Paris; a son, Tristen, 1; a second child, due in January; his mother, Michelle Sparks
Widner and step-father, Chris Widner, of Paris; his father, Danny Hoskins
and step-mother, Karen Hoskins, of Paris; step-brother, Dustin McClure;
step-sister, Hailey McClure; two sisters, Amber Young and Chelsie Hoskins; a
brother, Cameron Widner of Paris; and many nieces and nephews.
Sgt. Jay Michael Hoskins was the grandson of the Rev. James and Lynn Sparks, retired Pastor of
Gospel Lighthouse Church in Powderly and grandmother Shirlene Hoskins,
Odessa. He is also survived by his uncle and best friend, Timothy Sparks and
wife, Kerry, of Pittsburgh, Pa; aunts, Annette Bloodworth and husband,
Craig, of Honey Grove, Laurie Davis and husband, Gary, of McKinney; his
uncle, Joseph Hoskins and wife, Tracy, of Fayetteville, N.C., his aunt,
Ginger Hoskins of Lewisville; and many cousins who love and respected him so
much. He also leaves behind many friends and fellow Marines who are still
fighting the war on terror.
By Sally Boswell
- Paris News
Published August 15, 2009
Marine Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins
was buried Saturday following ceremonies attended by hundreds of family
members, friends and well-wishers. The service took place in one of the
gyms on the campus of North Lamar High School, the school Hoskins
graduated from in 2003.
Around the campus, scores of American flags, each attended by the still
and solitary figure of a volunteer — some members of the Patriot Riders,
some volunteers of other organizations — fluttered in the August breeze.
From somewhere nearby, a bell tolled, slow and decorous. More flags
greeted mourners as they approached the building and dozens of Marine
Honor Guards stood silent vigil near the doors and within the gymnasium.
An estimated crowd of more than 600 people took seats on the floor of
the gym and in the bleachers on both sides of the space. Young and old,
in couples or groups or by themselves, the people were silent for the
A pair of Marine Honor Guards stood at the foot and head of the
flag-draped casket, the eternal symbol of a fallen soldier — boots,
helmet and inverted rifle, known as the soldiers cross — positioned
before it. A piano played softly.
Nearby a large projection screen displayed pictures of Hoskins, taken
throughout his life.
After the arrival of the family in the hall, a lone Marine took the
podium and read a prepared statement, announcing that Hoskins has been
awarded the Purple Heart, before the Rev. Chris Kelley of Gospel
Lighthouse Church asked those in attendance to stand for the
Presentation of the Colors and the playing of the National Anthem.
“We pray for this great man, and this hero...” Kelly said, as the
mourners bowed in prayer.
On behalf of the family, Kelley thanked everyone in attendance, and the
community at large, for their support of Hoskins’ family, and for the
honors shown to Hoskins by the people of Paris since the news of the
young man’s death.
“But to truly honor his sacrifice is in how we conduct our lives,”
Kelley said. “Jay Hoskins believed in what he was doing. He believed in
freedom. Not just for those within the boundaries of the United States
but for everyone one in the world. And that freedom comes at a cost.”
“We honor him today for the choices he made in life,” Kelly continued.
“He made the choice to be a good son, a good brother, a good grandson, a
good husband and he was a wonderful Marine. He also made the choice to
be a good Christian. I believe in my heart that he left this life ready
to meet the Lord.”
Members of the Marine Corps League, a volunteer group of current and
retired Marines, carried the casket to the waiting hearse, for the trip
to Forest Chapel Cemetery, west of Chicota in the northwest part of the
county. As the cortege entered U.S. 271, it passed directly under an
enormous American Flag suspended over the highway from a large crane.
More flags lined the roadways along the way.
Among the first to arrive at the cemetery was a contingent of Marines.
They gathered to go over procedures and when the flowers arrived, they
helped surround the east side of the grave with the arrangements.
The sun was fierce and the 50 or so flags lining the cemetery road
flapped loudly in the breeze. Over the grave, two Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home
canopies shielded the casket and the 24 chairs for the immediate Hoskins
Before the procession arrived, the crowd already gathered at the
cemetery listened for the roar of motorcycles to come around the bend,
just before the cemetery.
“I hear motorcycles,” a woman finally said.
Police cars led the way with dozens of motorcycles following. Then came
the hearse, the limousines and the other vehicles bearing family and
Members of the Marine Corps League, in their red coats, formed a line
leading from the limo to the canopies. They saluted as the casket was
taken out of the hearse. A large bell began to ring as the pallbearers
made their way to the grave site.
More than 300 people looked on as seven riflemen fired a 21-gun salute
and the Marine Honor Guards folded the flag from atop the casket.
The folded flag was presented to the wife of the fallen soldier. Four
more flags were handed to other family members.
The sound of a bell tolling brought the service to an end and the crowd
began to disburse, some shaking their heads while others sought comfort
in one another’s embrace.
Following a three-day vigil by family, friends and thousands who lined
procession routes in honor of a Marine killed in combat Aug. 6, a
hometown hero returned to his Lamar County roots.