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Today is James' birthday.  Every day we try to honor James' memory by doing what he would have done, we support our service members in any way we can.  Most of us can't fix people like James could, but we can still help them have a better day, or even look forward to life when things aren't going so well. You can thank a vet, call up a buddy who's active duty/deployed/back from combat and see how he's doing.  Do it to make a difference, do it for James...consider it a birthday present. 

I never got to meet James.  Through the event of his death, I was introduced to Brent, and over time I've learned a lot about James.  I know I'd have been very excited to meet such an amazing young person.  I do catch glimpses of him in his family, though...the bravery, compassion, determination, caring...it's all there spread out in the people who raised him, grew up with him, and loved him.  

It might be James' birthday, but he's given us the gift.  He's touched our lives to make them more vibrant, more meaningful, more worth living.  James truly made this world a better place to live, and he will continue to do so as long as we keep his memory alive.  

Happy Birthday James Ray! 

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By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer - MarineCorpsTimes.com
Posted : Friday Sep 17, 2010 16:29:11 EDT


TRIANGLE, Va. — A year later, the pain is still raw. Five U.S. troops are dead, and the family members left behind are still asking questions.

A few minutes here Friday at the National Museum of the Marine Corps brought a new level of closure to the families of three Marines and a Navy corpsman, however. Their loved ones died Sept. 8, 2009, near the eastern Afghanistan village of Ganjgal after they were pinned down for hours without air or artillery support facing as many as 150 armed insurgents.

In a somber ceremony, the Corps awarded the Bronze Star with “V” to Gunnery Sgts. Edwin “Wayne” Johnson and Aaron Kenefick, 1st Lt. Michael Johnson and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton. They were all members of Embedded Training Team 2-8, and found in a trench dead and bloody from gunshots wounds, stripped of their equipment.

“Where do we get such wonderful men?” said Maj. Kevin Williams, who led the training team on the battlefield that day and was wounded in the attack. “We loved Michael, Wayne, Aaron and James. We loved them like a brother loves a brother, and sometimes even tighter than that blood bond. … We loved them, but they loved us more.”

Three Army officers at a nearby base were later cited for providing negligent leadership “contributing directly to the loss of life.” A soldier on the battlefield that day, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook, died Oct. 7, 2009, due to complications from wounds he suffered during the attack. He posthumously received a Bronze Star from the Army last October.

The three Marines and corpsman are credited with working together after they were pinned down to hold off the enemy, allowing a group of Afghan soldiers they were training to rejoin a larger group of coalition troops nearby. They faced a barrage of fire from heavily entrenched insurgents armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles.

A handful of Marines from the training team shared memories during the ceremony. They described Lieutenant Johnson and Gunny Johnson as faithful family men who were cheerful devotees to CrossFit workouts, Kenefick as a hard worker who pushed to join the team and Layton as an imaginative thinker with a wry sense of humor.

The ceremony ended a whirlwind week for the families, four of whom met together for the first time a year after the ambush in Williamsville, N.Y., Kenefick’s hometown. In a two-day “celebration of life” service on Sept. 10 and 11, friends and family members of Lieutenant Johnson, Kenefick, Layton and Westbrook remembered their loved ones, sharing memories, gifts and grief as they slowly heal.
Susan Price, Kenefick’s mother, and Brent Layton, the corpsman’s father, said the families appreciated the solemn way in which the ceremony at the museum was handled by the Corps.

A declassified report of a joint investigation conducted by Army and Marine colonels said at least two service members in the field that day “stand out as extraordinary examples of heroism worthy of the highest recognition.” The names of the troops cited for bravery were redacted from the report, but one of them is believed to be former Cpl. Dakota Meyer, who is credited with finding their bodies after braving enemy fire on foot when helicopter pilots said conditions were too violent to safely land their aircraft.

Source: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/09/marine-bronze-stars-ganjgal-afghanistan-091710w/

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By Will Chavez
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Navy medical corpsman James Layton of Riverbank, Calif., was killed in action on Sept. 8 in eastern Afghanistan while aiding a wounded U.S. Marine.

The Cherokee Nation citizen was among four men killed by small arms fire. All four men were at the front of a column of Marines heading on foot into a small village in the eastern Kunar Province, near the Pakistani border.

Eyewitness reports from Marines said Layton, 22, apparently had been applying aid to a wounded Marine lieutenant when they came under a volley of insurgent fire, killing them and the two other Marines. Nine Afghan security force members were also killed in the battle. Three other Americans and 19 Afghans were wounded.

In honor of Layton’s sacrifice, the CN flew its flags at half-staff. Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and others sent their condolences to the Layton family.

“We called and let them know we were thinking of them, and we wanted to give all the respect to their son that he deserved. It’s just always sad when we lose someone over there, whether they were Cherokee or not,” Grayson said. “A lot of times we don’t think of our veterans until something like this happens. Here we’re aware of the sacrifices our tribal members and non-tribal members are making over in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The tribe also sent a tribal flag to the family, which was flown during Layton’s funeral service on Sept. 17.

Grayson said the family called to say they appreciated the tribe’s sympathy and thoughts.

“We, the family of James Ray Layton want to send our sincere thank you for making sure that we had a Cherokee Nation flag for display during our time of loss as well as the personal calls made to the family upon hearing of his passing,” read a family statement. “We are truly overwhelmed at all the support that has been given us. We have been made to feel that James was truly a part of the Cherokee Nation, like family. Words cannot express what that has meant to our entire family.”

California Gov. Schwarzenegger also issued a statement of condolence on Layton’s death and said flags at the capitol would be flown at half-staff in his memory.

During the battle, about 100 Afghan soldiers, border officers, Marines and U.S. Army trainers were pinned down as insurgents unleashed gunfire and rockets. They were on a training mission with Afghan forces, who were to search the village for weapons and then meet village elders under an agreement to establish government authority in the area. Insurgent forces had set up positions in the village and in the mountains on either side and apparently attacked as the men reached the first compound.

Layton was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, to train with a Marine Corps unit for a mission in Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan about two months.

Source: Cherokee Phoenix

   

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Navy medical corpsman was tending to injured Marine

By The Record
September 11, 2009 12:00 AM


A graduate of an Escalon high school was killed Tuesday while trying to tend the wounds of a Marine in Afghanistan, according to reports from a reporter embedded with the unit.

Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton, 22, of Riverbank, who graduated in 2005 from Sierra View Independent Study High School of the Escalon Unified School District, was one of four U.S. servicemen killed in a firefight i eastern Afghanistan that day, the U.S. Department of Defense reported Thursday.

Layton, a Navy medical corpsman, reportedly was killed while attempting to provide medical aid to a wounded Marine during an ambush in Kunar province while part of a Combined Security Transition Command team of U.S. and Afghan soldiers, the Defense Department said.

Sierra View teacher Shane Bua said Layton was a quiet but insightful teen who didn't quite fit in at the Escalon comprehensive high school but excelled in independent study during his junior and senior years.

Bua said he and Layton were able to bond over discussions about music and the teacher's teasing the teen about his preference for the heavy metal genre. Layton liked to joke and was quick to laugh at his teacher's gibes, Bua said.

"James was a kid that was very smart, and you knew he was going to go on and do something after high school," Bua said. "I didn't think he was going into the military, but when he did, I thought it was good for him. When I heard he was becoming a Navy medic, I was thrilled for him."

A McClatchy News Service reporter who is embedded with the Marine unit that was under attack Tuesday reported that Layton was attempting to save the life of a Marine when he and his patient were struck and killed by insurgent gunfire.

"The Marines were cut down as they sought cover in a trench at the base of the village's first layer cake-style stone house. Much of their ammunition was gone. One Marine - later determined to be Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton, 22, of Riverbank, Calif. - was bending over a second, tending his wounds, when both were killed, said Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 21, of Greensburg, Ky., who retrieved their bodies," the reporter wrote in his story published in the Modesto Bee.

Layton is the 27th service member with ties to the San Joaquin County area to die in Afghanistan or Iraq since 2003.

 

Source: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090911/A_NEWS/909110310#STS=fzhe3zba.2180

   

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Corpsman.com thread: HM3 James Ray Layton

We at Corpsman.com extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to HM3 James Ray Layton's family, friends, shipmates and Marines. Words cannot adequately express the loss, a Corpsman feels, upon hearing the news of a fallen shipmate. HM3 Layton was best friends with one of our members here, also an HM3, who attended pre-deployment training with James. Please keep him in your prayers as well.

HM3 James Ray Layton, paid the ultimate sacrifice and will never be forgotten.

Know the Hospital Corps is experiencing a most difficult time right now, as it has lost two Doc's within the span of a few short days.

   

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ALCON,
This one is rough, they all are, but this one has a story that has hit the press recently.
I am attaching the story from the Modesto Bee to this email.
I will be posting a story announcing HM3 Layton’s passing later today.


 

A Riverbank sailor was killed Tuesday in an ambush in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced this morning.

Petty Officer 3rd Class James R. Layton, 22, died in Kunar Province while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to an embedded training team with Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.

Layton’s death was described by McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Jonathan Landay, who was embedded with a group of Marines and pinned down by heavy fire in a rugged section of Kunar Province on Tuesday.

The story appeared on the front page of The Modesto Bee on Wednesday: “The Marines were cut down as they sought cover in a trench at the base of the village’s first layer cake-style stone house. Much of their ammunition was gone. One Marine (later determined to be Layton) was bending over a second, tending his wounds, when both were killed, said Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 21, of Greensburg, Ky., who retrieved their bodies.”

Layton is the 28th soldier or Marine from the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the first from Riverbank.

Editor’s note: Read Landay’s account of the deaths of Layton and three others by clicking on the story link at left or by clicking here.

http://www.modbee.com/local/story/848962.html

Our hearts and prayers go out to HM3′s family, Marines, Shipmates, and friends.

Da-Chief

Source: Corpsman.com

   

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james_ray

US Navy
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class

James R. Layton

 

US Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James R. Layton died September 08, 2009 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom

James R. Layton, 22, of Riverbank, Calif.; assigned to an embedded training team with Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan; died Sept. 8 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

About this site

There have been a few questions regarding why this site is up on the internet.  To answer those who question:  It's here to help those who loved James to connect and heal.

After being told many many stories by James' Navy and Marine brothers, James' father had a site put together where these stories could be shared.  Due to the fact that many of these Corpsmen and Marines are still active duty and very busy, the stories have not come in to be added yet.  They will be added as soon as possible.   James was all about healing those who needed to be healed.  There are far too many people that are broken still due to James' absense and James would have understood the power of connecting and sharing in order to heal.

And finally, there is never any money made by James' father on this website or any other event he gets involved with.  Mr. Layton does not endorse ANY project or organization.

James' name will never be used by Mr. Layton to raise money for anyone.  If anyone is raising money and or using the name James Layton other than those authorized by state law AB 585 (Cook) it is illegal.

Site Login

The below links provide information on what James did as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman.  Grunt's provides extensive details on James' many ribbons, accomplishments and medals.

fmfpinlinkbuttoncorpsmandotcom gruntslink

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