Marine Maj. James M. Weis
Died July 22, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
37, of Toms River, N.J.; assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died July 22 in Trek Nawa, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Lt. Col. Mario D. Carazo.
3rd MAW helo pilots killed in Helmand province
Two Marine helicopter pilots were killed last Thursday during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the Defense Department announced Monday.
Lt. Col. Mario D. Carazo, 41, of Springfield, Ohio, and Maj. James M. Weis, 37, of Toms River, N.J., were AH-1W Super Cobra pilots assigned to Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, said Maj. Jay Delarosa, a wing spokesman at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego. The squadron is part of Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and is based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Military officials have not released details about the incident or said what brought down the helicopter. “The incident occurred as they were engaging in combat,” Delarosa said.
NATO officials that day reported that two service members were killed in a helicopter crash near Lashkar Gah, Helmand’s provincial capital, and the crash was under investigation.
Carazo, who was commissioned in 1991, deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2008, Delarosa said. His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation and Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Weis was commissioned in 1996 and deployed to Iraq from 2005-06. His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Air Medal (Individual Action), Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and Presidential Unit Citation-Navy.
‘He’s in better hands now,’ mom says
By Zach Patberg
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
TOMS RIVER, N.J. — As the Marine Corps prepares to transport Maj. James M. Weis’ body to California this week to be buried near where his wife and two children live, his mother is finding solace in knowing he died a hero.
Anne Weis said her son loved the Marines and understood the risks involved in fighting for his country.
“He knew what his job was, he signed up for it and he did it with the best of his ability,” she said from her home in Homestead, Fla. “He’s in better hands now, and I don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
Weis, 37, a Toms River native and decorated Marine pilot, was killed July 22 during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. He was providing air support for troops surrounded on the ground when his Cobra helicopter was hit by four surface-to-air missiles, Anne Weis said military officials told her. Marine Lt. Col. Mario D. Carazo, 41, of Springfield, Ohio, also died in the crash.
Weis was hoping to be promoted to lieutenant colonel and become a commanding officer after returning from his most recent deployment, according to a Marine who served with him.
His mother said Weis’ older brother, William Scott Weis, also a major in the Marines, is in Dover, Del., site of the U.S. military mortuary, preparing to escort Weis’ body to California. While James Weis, his wife, Mae, and his two young sons lived in Oceanside, Calif., his family is considering burying him near a San Diego harbor where Navy ships come into port, according to his mother. The funeral likely will be Aug. 2, she said.
Weis, often called by his middle name, Matthew, was born in Eatontown but grew up in Toms River, where he graduated from Toms River North. Anne Weis, who moved to Florida several years ago, said her son fell in love with flying while in college at Rutgers University. He joined the Marines in 1994 and was commissioned as an officer in 1996.
Weis was part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was on his third tour of duty when he was killed.