Sandy Marine dies in California motorcycle crash

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21 2012 6:33 p.m. MDT

Josh Vielstich

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SANDY — A Utah family is remembering their son, a U.S. Marine, who died Saturday in a motorcycle crash in Palm Springs, Calif.

The parents of 21-year-old Joshua Vielstich described him as an energetic adventure seeker, but most of all — a Marine.

"He's been active in the Marine Corps for about three and a half years," said Craig Vielstich, Josh's father.

Vielstich's first tour of duty was to Afghanistan where he served for nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His father recalled a haunting phone call his wife Annette answered while their son was stationed in the Middle East.

"She had hung up after about five seconds, and I said, ‘Why didn't you talk longer?'" Craig Vielstich recalled. "And she said, ‘Well, he said he had to go, and I heard tat, tat, tat.' And I don't think she realized at that moment they had come under attack."

Josh Vielstich returned to his home base in Palm Springs last July. His life came to a tragic end on Aug. 18.

"It was a heartbreaking moment to see (the Marine officers) standing there, because deep down I knew what they were here to tell us," said Annette Vielstich.

The men in uniform told the couple that their son had died in a motorcycle crash off base.

"He swerved and hit a car, and that was about it," Craig Vielstich said.

Josh Vielstich died instantly, but the memories of him as both an Alta High School graduate and a Marine corporal will not be forgotten by those people who knew him best.

"He was our boy, a big part of our family," his father said. "We're going to miss him so much."

The family said Josh had planned to go back to school next year and become a helicopter pilot. Funeral services are pending.

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