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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine based on Okinawa was killed July 2 while conducting combat operations in Iraq’s Anbar province.

According to Marine Corps Public Affairs on Okinawa, Sgt. Justin L. Noyes, 23, of Vinita, Okla., was assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force before being deployed to Iraq on Feb. 20. He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician.

A memorial service was held on Okinawa at Camp Hansen’s West Chapel on Monday. Among Noyes’ decorations were the Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

More than 2,000 Okinawa-based Marines are serving in Iraq, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Jay Delarosa said.

There are roughly 20,100 Marines now in Iraq, he said.

According to press accounts in Oklahoma, Noyes’ family said they were told he had just dismantled an improvised explosive device when a second device exploded beneath him. He was on his second tour in Iraq.

Noyes was due to return to Oklahoma in September, his stepmother told The Daily Oklahoman.

Karen Noyes told the newspaper her stepson married his wife, Sarah, in May 2005. They had no children. He also had two brothers and two sisters.

“He was my rock whenever I was down,” said his mother, Stacey Noyes. “He’d always have me laughing at the end of a bad day.

“He was that kind of person. He grew up happy-go-lucky, a class clown who always found a way to make someone laugh,” his anguished mother said.

“He was very caring and loving.”

Noyes’ father received a call July 3 from his son’s team leader, who witnessed the explosion, The Tulsa World reported.

“He let me know that he didn’t suffer,” Mark Noyes, who had talked to his son about five weeks earlier, told the paper.

The senior Noyes said that during that phone call, his son had told him he was safe. A few weeks later, he felt bad about missing some of his son’s calls when he was at work.

“I got a cell phone last week just for that reason, so he could catch me at work,” he told The Tulsa World.

His brother, Jeremy, 26, also was a Marine and the two briefly served in Iraq at the same time, their mother said.

Noyes joined the Marines on Aug. 7, 2000, one day before his 18th birthday and shortly after his graduation from Vinita High School, where he played baseball and football.

“He was a brave guy,” his football coach, Rusty Rankin, told The Daily Oklahoman. “It’s unbelievable that something like that could happen to him. You just thought he was invincible.”

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