John T. Sparks was born Oct. 3, 1987 and graduated from Paul Robeson High School in Chicago, where he played football and wrestled. Sparks attended Westwood College where he received an associate degree in criminal justice.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 2008. After completing training, he served with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The lance corporal served as a machine gunner when he died Oct. 8, 2010 — a few days after his 23rd birthday. He died during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. It was his first combat deployment.
“He was a selfless person,” his roommate, Cpl. Jeffery Holsey, said during a memorial in Afghanistan, according to an account of the event posted online by the 1st Marine Division. “He always gave everything and never asked for anything in return.”
Sparks posthumously received a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.
He was laid to rest at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, Section 3, Site 598.
We honor his service.
As it did last year, this year National Cemetery Administration is collaborating with Carry The Load for Memorial Day to honor fallen Veterans. Both NCA and Carry The Load are honoring select “Veterans of the Day” with remembrances on social media during May.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic artist: Steve Ellmore