The family of Marine Cpl. Gregory Scott Stultz, along with Staff Sgt. Clark, sat down with The Brazil Times Monday to reflect his life.
Cpl. Stultz died as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan Feb. 19, 2010. According to the family, it was his first tour.
The United States Department of Defense said Cpl. Stultz died while "supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan," in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cpl. Stultz was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, in Okinawa, Japan.
He died on his brother Zach's birthday.
Cpl. Stultz' mother, Kim, said the family was contacted soon after he had died.
"Within an hour of his death, they were notifying us," she said. "That was Gregory's way (of saying to Zach), 'every year, you'll remember.'"
Cpl. Stultz was the oldest of her five children.
"(Greg) was rambunctious," she said. "But he was always the leader of the pack. I was very young when I had Greg. He was so sweet. He was so rowdy, but so sweet. He was a very sweet kid."
"He was the one I could trust with the kids," Cpl. Stultz' father Bill said.
"(Greg) grew up playing with action figures," Zach added. "He was always going to be a hero."
The family recalled his desire to become a Marine at a very young age.
"He tried to get us to sign when he was 17," Kim said.
"(Greg) had his mind made up," Bill added. "He knew what he wanted to do."
Kim recalled when Gregory was 17 and a Marine recruiter stopped by her father's home.
While there, the recruiter laid three items down in front of Cpl. Stultz and he immediately gravitated toward leadership.
"It's something he felt he wanted to do," Kim said. "He felt like being a part of something bigger than himself.
Bill said he asked his son to wait before enlisting and he did.
"He did what we asked," Bill said.
Before enlisting in the Marine Corp, the 2006 Northview High School graduate attended Rend Lake College as a wrestler.
"It was never what was going to work for him," Kim said.
She added her son chose to enlist only weeks after coming home from college.
"He said, 'I'm just going to be a Marine,'" she said. "He didn't give me a chance to talk him out of it."
During boot camp, Kim said her son called home frequently, saying he enjoyed it but it was difficult.
"He was really motivated to do this," she said. "He really wanted to be overseas. But being away from family was hard for him."
"(Greg) had the Marines set on his mind," Bill added. "He knew what he was doing was right. He felt like that's what God wanted him to do."
During boot camp, Cpl. Stultz began taking the necessary tests to join the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance, a special operations force.
Marines intent on joining this force must score high on physical fitness and combat fitness tests and must maintain the high scores annually.
According to Staff Sgt. Clark, Cpl. Stultz achieved perfect scores in both tests.
"Two out of 10 make it through the full course," Zach said. "He was going to be the best. It's what he really wanted to do. He wasn't going half-hearted."
The family said Cpl. Stultz had been in Afghanistan since November.
"He was doing what he loved," Kim said.
"I had high expectations for him and he fulfilled all of them," Bill added.
In life, Greg had many passions, including wrestling.
Although he didn't start wrestling competitively until he was a sophomore in high school, he took to it quite quickly.
"It was in his blood," Bill said. "And he became one of the best."
The family said Greg was also passionate about children. At one time, he served as a counselor for the YMCA of Clay County Summer Day Camp.
"I always instilled in him, 'you're the example,'" Bill said. "He was tough as nails, but he loved kids."
Kim said her son also had a wonderful sense of humor.
"He was a very funny person," she said. "He loved to be funny. If he couldn't have been a Marine, he should have been a comic.
They also recalled the last conversation they had with Greg.
"We talked to him Wednesday," Kim said.
"He called before he went to bed and told me, 'tell mom I love her,'" Zach added.
"He didn't think a lot about himself," Bill said. "He brought out the best in people."
"Being a mom was my destiny," Kim said. "I couldn't be prouder. (Greg) had no regrets about the choices he made."
Since hearing the news, Clay County residents have come to the aid of the family, sending food, cards, letters and more.
"People are so kind and so grateful," Kim said. "That would be so impressed on Greg. He would have been so appreciative for that. We love them all. We're thankful. It's very comforting."
Zach added when the family arrived in Dover, Del., Saturday, he saw the outpouring of love from others.
"I got a lot of closure that night," Zach said. "(Greg) touched everybody. He's making people better right now."
The following is a list of awards Cpl. Gregory Scott Stultz received as a Marine:
* Sea Service Deployment Medal,
* Global War on Terrorism Medal,
* National Defense Medal,
* Meritorious Mast, and
* Letter of Appreciation.