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Marine killed in Afghanistan had Victoria ties

By JR Ortega
April 24, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Updated April 24, 2012 at 11:25 p.m.

Joseph Fankhauser, who has ties to Victoria, was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.

AREA SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN:

September 2003: U.S. Army Spec. Richard Arriaga, 20, of Ganado, in Iraq.April 2005: U.S. Army Spec. Gary Walters, 31, of Victoria, in Iraq.November 2005: U.S. Marine Cpl. John M. Longoria, 21, of Nixon, in Iraq.April 2006: U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Andres "AJ" Aguilar Jr., 21, of Victoria, in Iraq.November 2006: U.S. Army Sgt. Mitchel Mutz, 23, of Falls City, in Iraq.April 2008: Army Specialist David McCormick, of Bay City, in Iraq.October 2009: Sgt. Anthony Gabriel "Gabe" Green, 28, of Yorktown, in Afghanistan.July 2010: U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Creighton, 23, of Cuero, in Afghanistan.July 2010: Capt. Jason E. Holbrook, 28, of Burnet, had a sister in Victoria.

The pride in serving America was something that ran deep and thick through Joseph Fankhauser's veins.

From the time he was a child playing with G.I. Joe, to his untimely death in Afghanistan Sunday, that pride never ran dry, his mother, Mary Wyscarver said Tuesday.

"He knew it was dangerous," she said in an email. "He made the sacrifice."

Fankhauser's late grandfather, Allan D. Wyscarver, was from Victoria, as is his step-grandmother, Helen Wyscarver. Fankhauser's mother lives in Temple, but taught for five years at Victoria Memorial High School.

Fankhauser, 30, a staff sergeant, was killed during combat operations in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, according to a news release from the United States Department of Defense.

He was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Even today, his mother saves the G.I. Joe toys in Ziplock bags.

As a boy, Fankhauser and his mother went to different Naval air shows. He was also active in Boy Scouts and Royal Ambassadors in the Baptist Church.

Later, he became involved in junior ROTC and, after high school graduation, went into the Marines.

"He loved the Corps," Wyscarver said. "He did what he had to do ... fighting in a foreign country to keep the wolf from our door here at home."

He went on special assignment in Washington, D.C., and then did four tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. This one was his third.

Though Wyscarver is hurting from her son's death, she knows he died doing what he loved. To her, he was what made a Marine.

"His spirit should live in every American who truly believes that this is the home of the brave and the land of the free," she said.

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