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Jeffrey R Starling
Birth: May 27, 1972
Florida, USA
Death: Dec. 9, 1999, USA

On December 9, 1999, a CH-46 helicopter crashed 14 miles off the coast of San Diego in 3,900 feet of water and claimed the lives of six Marines and one sailor, SSgt Jeffrey R. Starling was one of those Marines. Jeffrey is remembered as an American Hero who gladly accepted the risks of his profession and was posthumously awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal. At the time of his death He was stationed with United States Marine Corps, 1st Force Recon - South Daytona, FL. Jeffrey is survived by his Father, Grandle; Mother, Charlotte and Brother, Randy. The following is a poem that was written by a friend of Jeff's and sent to Jeff's parents:
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 4:29pm

Breathe...

Left, left, your left-right

We moved together through the brush,
our boots scarring the same ground.
I spend my time retracing old footsteps,
looking for the familiar fold of the grass,
the comforting sounds of
quiet breathing as we walked together.
I catalog remembrances of the dead,
pry nails from the coffin with every breath.
I shuffle old photographs
and see his tightlipped grin
under helmets and camouflage.

C-130 rollin' down the strip.
Recon daddy on a one way trip.

I catalog remembrances of the dead,

I retrace old footsteps,
mimic the rituals that sanctified us
as brothers.
We spoke for each other,
held each other when we bled.
He stood at my shoulder
with you, with you
as we charged chin first into bullets and bullshit.
I woke up bloody,
my head in his hands.

Day is done, gone the sun,
from the lakes, from the hills, from the sky.
all is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

It is a clean day,
a bright sun and warm breeze lifts my spirit high,
an easy target when I hear the news.
There are no details.
A Marine helicopter down off the coast of San Diego;
pain tells me the rest.
It is a truth my gut believes.
I find out in a phone call the next day:
can't talk, man, it's still hush-hush
anyone I know
yeah
Jeff
pause yeah
I am supposed to be stoic now,
hold steady and salute,
wear my medals and be proud.
I breathe heavy,
weak under the weight of it all.
I meet his mother at the funeral.
She says Jeff spoke about me,
respected me.
I tell her I love him like a brother and it's true,
not just grief.
I feel guilty
that I never told my mother about him.

Get ready!
one minute!
thirty seconds!

The noise makes us silent.
We are bathed in it
as it flows over us in waves, cycles,
It is rapid, fierce,
cold slaps on our skin.
Sunlight slides through rotor blades,
wiggles unworried past each particle of air,
works its way to us through open windows
and onto his skin.
His hand slides over his gear.
We are suited for battle
and bear the weight of it all,
heavy on our shoulders,
heavy on our hearts.
The pulse of air knifes across us as we breathe,
carefully breathe.
Warm sunlight flows over the rotors
and in through the windows.
Cool water floods over the rotors
and in through the windows.
A clean December day
and out this far the water is clean and turquoise
as it fills the inside of the helicopter,
quieter now that the engines have stopped.
The sounds are simple and natural,
splashes and voices.
The cool Pacific swells up around him,
a short breath from the chill against his chest.
Sunlight filters through the windows,
filters through the water.
The bright glow of it blinds him
as he tries to unbuckle the straps
that hold him in.
The others are swimming free
as the aircraft starts to sink,
turned upside down.
We have practiced this before.
We've imagined it every time.
We prayed
each time we crossed over the water,
not me, not today.
But it is, Jeff.
It's today.
Clean cool water wraps itself around you
as you try to breathe.
I remember the sound of your breath
close to me
as we ran through the jungle.
I remember the smell of your breath
as you whispered close to my face.
I remember the force of your breath
as you called out behind me
with you, with you
as we charged head first into bullets and bullshit.
I want to feel the cold rush of the water
as you fight to hold your breath,
the burning in your chest,
the buzzing in your fingers as your skin begs for air,
the shock of the water
as it fills your throat,
as it fills your lungs
as we try to breathe.

by Dana Onifer
Corpsman 
 
Burial:
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Daytona Beach
 
Created by: Dawn
Record added: Jul 20, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 55218886
Jeffrey R Starling
Added by: Dawn
 
Jeffrey R Starling
Added by: Dawn
 
Jeffrey R Starling
Added by: Dawn
 
 
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- Michelle_MK
 Added: Jan. 8, 2013
I remember when I heard about 9 Dec, such a tragic accident. I'll never forget. Semper Fi, Marine! Rest in Peace.
- Michelle_MK
 Added: Jan. 2, 2011

- Barbara Williams Peeler
 Added: Sep. 7, 2010
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