Body Of 20-Year-Old Marine From Tunnel Hill Killed In Iraq Arrives

Soddy-Daisy Marine Wounded In Same Incident

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A 20-year-old Marine from Tunnel Hill, Ga., was killed in Iraq on Saturday, the Department of Defense announced. The body arrived in Chattanooga today and was escorted to Love Funeral Home in Dalton.

Services for Lance Corporal James M. Gluff will be Monday at 12:30 p.m. in the chapel of Love Funeral Home. Burial with full military honors will be Monday at 2:30 p.m. at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga.

The family will receive friends at the Love Funeral Home Sunday after 2 p.m.

Lance Corporal Gluff was involved in combat operations in Al Anbar Province.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He had been promoted to lance corporal in 2006.

The graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School left a wife and young son.

He is survived by his wife, Hope Gluff, 20, and his son, Michael Wayne, 14 months.

Also, another Marine from Soddy-Daisy who is in the same unit, was wounded in the same incident.

Corporal Daniel O'Keefe, who was recently married, suffered facial wounds from shrapnel.

He was flown to a hospital in Germany.

His parents are Tom and Angie O'Keefe.

Tom O'Keefe said Thursday morning that the family was at home last Saturday around 8:30 p.m. when they received a call saying their son had been injured in combat. The O'Keefes have two older sons.

Mr. O'Keefe said his son has undergone one surgery on his face and is up and around. He said he has visited two other Marines, who are in intensive care at the same hospital in Germany. They were injured in the same incident.

He said physicians have delayed a second surgery on his son's face for fear that nerves could be damaged. He said doctors are hoping the injuries will heal on their own. He said his son has trouble opening and closing his left eye.

Corporal O'Keefe, who is 21, is married to Tera Warren, who is also from Soddy-Daisy. She is flying to Germany today to be with her husband.

O'Keefe said he has spoken with his son several times at the hospital in Germany, and his son's wife has been able to talk to him every day.

He said his son told him, "Dad, I want to be go back (to Iraq) and finish what I went over there to do."

However, his son said he believes the two other critically injured soldiers will be coming home rather than returning to Iraq.

Mr. O'Keefe said his son told him that the unit had completed its daily patrol and was back in barracks when they were called out again after being alerted by Iraqi police of sniper attacks. He said the Marines are on 12-hour shifts seven days a week, and have only one day off a month.

He said his son stated that two trucks went out toward where the sniper attack was reported. Corporal O'Keefe was in the first truck along with Lance Corporal Gluff and the others who were injured.

Mr. O'Keefe said his son told him that they spotted a sniper by a well house. The sniper was shot, but not taken out, he said.

He said his son approached the well house and, as he went in, the sniper detonated an explosive device on his body. He said his son immediately hit the floor of the well house.

Mr. O'Keefe said his son stated that Lance Corporal Gluff and other Marines were on foot on the other side of the well house when a second suicide bomber set off an explosion that took the life of Lance Corporal Gluff and critically injured the other two.

Mr. O'Keefe said he and his wife plan to attend the Gluff funeral. He said his son would sometimes ride with Lance Corporal Gluff between Chattanooga and Camp LeJeune.

Corporal O'Keefe was home schooled, his father said, and he joined the Marines in January 2005.

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