By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Joshua Ose’s mother says he was so determined to join the Marine Corps that he signed up during his senior year in high school, committing himself to begin boot camp just a few weeks after graduating from north Mississippi’s Hernando High School in 2009.
The Department of Defense said Tuesday that the 19-year-old private first class was killed Monday while on foot patrol in Afghanistan. The Marine Corps said Ose (O-SEE) was struck by small arms fire in the southern Helmand Province.
Ose was assigned to a unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.. His mother, Sissy Ose, said he had been in Afghanistan about two weeks.
Sissy Ose said in a telephone interview Tuesday from the family’s home in Hernando that her son, who went by Josh, was in junior high when he started talking about entering the military. She said she encouraged him to choose his own path in life.
Josh Ose was a gun enthusiast and worked during high school at a local farm where people would shoot each other for fun with paint balls, his mother said. She said the last time he was home, he played paint ball for two days.
“He had a great imagination and could come up with some really adventurous things to do,” she said. “He called them his shenanigans.”
The shenanigans were sometimes the kind that invited attention from law officers, his mother said with a laugh. During high school, for example, Josh and one of his friends put on life vests and jumped off local bridges into the Coldwater River, which was swollen from heavy rainfall.
“I did not discourage his adventures or condemn him when the sheriff’s department called and we had to go there when he had been jumping off a bridge — which is not illegal in Mississippi,” Sissy Ose said.
Josh Ose was an only child. He is also survived by his father, Ross Ose.
Each side of Josh Ose’s family has a history of military service, with a paternal forefather who fought in the Civil War, his mother said.
The Ose family’s minister, the Rev. Chip Hatcher of First Presbyterian Church in Hernando, said Josh Ose thought the purest form of military service was being an enlisted Marine.
“I want people to remember him as a very authentic young man and someone who really was his own person,” Hatcher said. “He wasn’t one to follow the crowd. I think other people followed him.”