Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Karl Linn, who served as a combat engineer during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Karl Linn was born in June 1984 and grew up in Midlothian, Virginia. As a child, he had a strong interest in science, which also fostered an interest in robotics. Linn attended James River High School where he was a co-founder of the school’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics team.
On Sept. 11, 2001, like many other Americans, Linn watched the events of 9/11 unfold during the school day. Afterward, he decided he wanted to join the Marine Corps after graduating high school. He entered the Marine Corps delayed entry program as a reservist in June 2002. He also attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Linn was awarded the Alcoa Foundation Community Scholarship to attend VCU. He completed boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, in 2003, and his military occupational specialties and combat training in 2004.
Right before his third year at VCU, Linn learned he was to deploy to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, he served in Charlie Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division. At first, he was stationed in the northern regions of Iraq but was transferred to Haditha Dam in the Anbar Province a month later. Serving as a combat engineer, Linn was responsible for locating and destroying enemy weapon caches. Since the enemy frequently used Russian weapons, Linn quickly adapted to his role thanks to his existing knowledge of Russian weaponry.
On Jan. 26, 2005, Linn took part in a mission dealing with enemy insurgents near a mosque, but the unit found nothing when they arrived at the location and decided to leave. However, as the unit was leaving, they were ambushed by a contingent of enemy forces who fired at the Marines pinned on the road below them. During the fight, an enemy rocket-propelled grenade exploded near the Marines, severely injuring Linn and Jonathan Bowling. Both later died from these injuries.
During his service, Linn earned the rank of lance corporal. The Engineering West Hall at VCU also features a tribute to him, and the VCU College of Engineering awards two First Robotics Scholarships, one of which is named the Karl Linn Memorial Scholarship.
Linn will be honored on May 9, during the Carry the Load national relay in May 2022. The Carry the Load campaign is hosting nationwide events during the month of May and aims to raise awareness and “connect Americans to the sacrifices made by our military, Veterans, first responders and their families.” To learn more about the Carry the Load campaign and to find an event near you, visit the Carry the Load website.
Linn is buried at Culpeper National Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia.
We honor his service.
To post a tribute this Memorial Day for Karl Linn please visit the Veterans Legacy Memorial.
Carry the Load
In 2022, VA is joining forces with Carry The Load to honor veterans during the “Memorial May” March, a national relay visiting 50 VA national cemeteries to honor our nation’s fallen service members. A link to this webpage is here. The complete list of participating cemeteries can be found here. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Raymond Lin
Editors: Merrit Pope, Nathaniel Scott
Researchers: Jake Stanard, David Deprez, Raphael Romea
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley