Lance Corporal Karl R. Linn, USMC, was assigned to Charlie Company of the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Corps Reserve, Lynchburg, VA. His Company was deployed to Iraq in the Fall of 2004, around the time of the Battle of Fallujah. LCpl Linn was grievously wounded on a night patrol on 26 January, 2005 in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq when his transport vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade in an ambush by Iraqi terrorists. Linn died a few hours later after receiving first aid and being placed onto a medevac helicopter. Charlie Company lost five men that day, but the Iraqi free elections that LCpl Linn and his comrades were patrolling to support continued as planned.
Karl Linn was much more than a US Marine, however. As a James River High School student, he had a profound impact on his school that still shapes daily school life to this day. He was also a shining example of good character and patriotism in everything that he did. Before the Marine Corps, Karl did many things that made him stand out from the pack. in 2001, as a Junior at JRHS, he co-founded the FIRST Robotics team 975, which still competes to this day. After he graduated in 2002, Karl enlisted in the USMC delayed entry program and attended Virginia Commonwealth University for two years, majoring in mechanical engineering. He graduated boot camp in Summer of 2003 and did his MOS and combat training in Summer of 2004.
Karl’s patriotism was a defining aspect of his character. Whether it be in the mural he painted after the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 (which still graces the rear wall of Mr. Christopher Negaard’s history classroom) or posting on online paintball forums (paintball was one of his favorite hobbies), Karl always showed his pride for his country. The best person to pay testament to Karl’s patriotism, however, is Karl himself. The following is an email message that he sent to his father on 11 September, 2001.
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 11:11 AM
I’m typing this at school during lunch. I went through the webmail backdoor, because the school isp blocks most communication sites. If you don’t already know, a bunch of planes, passengers and all, were hijacked and made kamikaze runs. First one plowed into the World Trade Center, causing one tower to collapse. A second plane, looked like a 737 or something slammed into the second one shortly thereafter. A little after 1030 we got to a classroom that was picking up the news, and right after that we saw the second tower go. Titus pulled the cable, doesn’t want the school panicking, but word is moving faaaaast. Also, a commuter plane hit teh pentagon, all key government officials are being evacuated, bush is on his way home. Unconfirmed reports state that a car bomb went off outside the state department. FAA has grounded everything and fighters can be seen scrambling. A few hijacked planes are still missing, another jet crashed earlier in the day a short distance from the airport, but no one is sure whether or not its related. 1 palestinian group has so far claimed responsibility, but they all try to be proud and stupid. The real perpetrators would know that once the US finds out, they would be incinerated into the stone age. This is an amazingly well coordinated attack, focusing on the major symbols of the free world, all within 1 hour. All the history teachers have studied and have known that there is gap in recent years that should be filled by a war, not just a little gulf war. Even I knew it was coming, but I never expected such a violent and unprecedented attack. This could easily erupt into a holy war if there are enough zealots in palestine and elsewhere, and could cause a huge conflict that could spell the end of the muslim faith. I hope it doesn’t get that global, but you can be sure the world will not let this one go unpunished. This is without a doubt the biggest, most vicious act of terrorism (if not an act of war) in modern times, if not the history of mankind. Looks like Bush and the military will be getting those funds to finish research on all those new weapons and fighters scheduled for the next 8 years. Well, I’ll see what’s going on when i get home, most of the news sites here are normally blocked anyway by the school isp. Just let you know that we heard it too. Now that I’m done, there could have been another attempt at something, although national security forces probably would’ve intercepted. Nonetheless, the nation has been really jarred, and while I fear what’s going to come, most of it is channeled into anger in knowing that something will happen. Take care, and buy more ammo.
It is with great honor that we at JRHS NJROTC salute Karl’s memorial in front of the school every morning, remembering not only the Marine who fought to help win free elections for another country and to protect his own, but also the great man who gave up his life so that we could live ours in peace.
The CNN news program “Anderson Cooper 360” ran a segment on Karl’s unit called “Ambush at the River of Secrets” in 2007.