Widow of fallen Marine recalls everyday moments (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

ELGIN — Julianna Martinez is glad that her husband, U.S. Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez, had left his wedding ring with her before he left in February for his second deployment to Afghanistan.

It’s kind of slippery, she said Thursday, and he was afraid he’d mess it up or lose it or scratch it more.

She wears it on a chain around her neck now, dangling just below the locket her sister just gave her.

She always wanted a locket, she said. This one has her husband’s photo in it, as well as an engraving of his last post on her Facebook wall: “I loved you yesterday. I love you still. I always have, and I always will.”

“He was a little lovey-dovey,” she said, her face lighting up when she talks about him.

Julianna Martinez is glad now, too, that she quit her job at the Walmart near Camp Pendleton in California, where her husband was stationed. She only had worked there three months, she said, and he always was asking her to call in.

“Now I regret at the time I was mad,” she said. “Now that I think about it, I’m glad everything happened the way it did.”

Cpl. Martinez, 21, of Elgin, was killed April 5 during combat operations in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Gunnery Sgt. Lloyd Beckford, Cpl. Martinez’s platoon sergeant and Marine Corps family liaison, said Thursday that he could not discuss how the Elgin Marine had died, but “that will come out at a later time.”

Julianna Martinez was at home at Camp Pendleton with her roommate, the wife of another combat engineer in the same unit as her husband, when she learned he had been killed.

“They came to my door … and we just knew it was one of our husbands,” she said. “I broke down and, you know, couldn’t believe it. It was unreal. I was still waiting for his call.”

She last had spoken with him the Tuesday before, she said. They usually spoke about three times a week — the longest she’d gone without a phone call was about five days — and he had told her it would be a few days before he’d be able to call again.

For the rest of the story, read Widow of fallen Marine recalls everyday moments (Sun-Times Media).

Photo credit: Michael Smart for Sun-Times Media.