‘Guardian Angel’ Marine Remembered, Buried Next To His Father

Aug 25, 2020, 10:05 PM | Updated: 10:42 pm

LEHI, Utah – When U.S. Marine Cpl. James Cottrell passed away earlier this month while visiting family in Panama, his friends and family here in Utah quickly jumped in to help fulfill his final wish of being buried next to his father at Camp Williams.

They called the former marine a “private man” who never knew how much he had helped others.

“We’re learning so much more about him now that he’s gone,” said Cottrell’s sister, Dora Workman. “It’s been wonderful to know that.”

Cottrell served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1997 to 2005 and was instrumental in stopping a terrorist attack on the Kuwaiti island of Faylaka before the invasion of Iraq.

He also served as a scout sniper in the second battle of Fallujah in 2004.

Because of the lives he is credited with saving, his peers now recognize him as what is known as a “Guardian Angel” – a program implemented by General James Mattis under policy memorandum 04-06.

“The term ‘hero’ kind of gets thrown around,” said friend David Peterson. “With James, he is a hero. What he did is absolutely heroic.”

After Cottrell finished his last deployment, those close to him say he suffered from severe PTSD. While had recently finished a program to help veterans, friends said he struggled with being a “survivor,” since so many of his fellow soldiers were not as lucky.

“I just wish that he knew how important he was and what an impact he made especially in my life and many others,” said Workman.

After a memorial service in American Fork, Cottrell was laid to rest at Camp Williams with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute.

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‘Guardian Angel’ Marine Remembered, Buried Next To His Father