Lindsay Lohan, the Media and Fallen Marines

A Viral Posting Urges Recognition of Lost Military Members over Celebrities

Lindsay Lohan
Samuel de Roman/Getty Images

A viral message circulated online in September 2010 accusing the media of ignoring the sacrifices of Marines in action while giving publicity to the drug woes of actress Lindsay Lohan, who was of a similar age to the fallen Marines. It urged those who received the posting to repost it to honor the Marines.

Example of the Posting

Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she's a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Chase Stanley 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate 27 are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention. Honor THEM by reposting!

Who Were the Fallen Military Members?

The 12 men listed were military members killed in Afghanistan between July 10 and July 16, 2010. "I agree with the sentiment," Chuck Anastasia writes, "but found the facts less than 100% accurate." He investigated the names listed for the Marines to learn more about them in order to honor them appropriately. He detailed their identities in his CoolSpark blog.

Rather than all of them being Marines, nine of the men served in the US Army. One, Staff Sergeant Brett George Linley, was a British soldier serving in an ordnance disposal battalion. Only two were currently serving in the U.S. Marines.

While Anastasia couldn't find a Justus Bartett, he discovered that Marine Staff Sergeant Justus S. Bartelt was killed while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan on July 16, 2010. The other Marine was Corporal Dave M. Santos of Rota, Marianas Islands, who died on the same date and in the same place as Bartelt.

Staff Sergeant Matthew W. Weikert of Iowa was a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine), having enlisted in the Corps in August 2001. But after three tours in Iraq, he had joined the U.S. Army 101st Airborne and served another tour in Iraq before his tour in Afghanistan. He died at age 29 near Orgun, Afghanistan, according to his obituary. He was survived by a young son and other family members.

Five of the Army men died on July 14, 2010. Spc. Chase Stanley, Spc. Jesse D. Reed, Spc. Matthew J. Johnson, and Sgt. Zachary M. Fisher were killed in their vehicle by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Zabul province. Private Brandon M. King was killed that day by insurgents attacking Combat Outpost Nolen. 

Army 1st Lt. Christopher S. Goeke and Staff Sgt. Sheldon L. Tate died on July 13, 2010, during an attack by insurgents in Kandahar City.Sgt. Justin B. Allen died on July 18, 2010, in Zhari during combat action.

Similar Viral Postings

The posting was seen many more times over the course of months. Similar posts urging reposting crop up regularly, deriding the media for their publicity of celebrities while ignoring military sacrifices. While Lindsay Lohan was named here due to her peccadillos in 2010, similar items are seen for members of the Kardashian family. It is likely to be a meme repeated over and over again.