Staff Sergeant Joseph Fankhauser was born on August 27, 1981, in Edinburg Texas. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 2000 and attended Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA. Upon completion of recruit training, PFC Fankhauser reported to the School of Infantry aboard Camp Pendleton where he completed the basic rifleman curriculum and was awarded the Military Occupational Specialty of 0311. After graduation from the School of Infantry he reported to 1st Battalion 7th Marines at Twenty Nine Palms, Ca. While with 1st Battalion 7th Marines, he deployed to Okinawa as part of the Unit Deployment Program and to Kuwait for the subsequent invasion into Iraq. Upon returning from Iraq in 2003, he received orders to Camp Pendleton and joined 2nd Battalion 1st Marines in January of 2004. During his time with 2nd Battalion 1st Marines he deployed twice to Iraq, once to Fallujah and the second as part of the 13th MEU. In April of 2006 he joined 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and deployed to Iraq in 2007. After returning from Iraq, Staff Sergeant Fankhauser received orders to Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal in April of 2008. Following graduation in January of 2009, he reported to MWSS-373, MCAS Miramar. While with MWSS-373, Staff Sergeant Fankhauser deployed once to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. In August of 2011 he executed orders to 1st EOD Company, Camp Pendleton, CA and was assigned as a Team Leader in 2nd Platoon.
Staff Sergeant Fankhauser’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (3), National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2), Iraq Campaign Medal (4), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), and NATO Medal ISAF-Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Fankhauser is survived by his wife Heather, mother Mary Wyscarver, and father & stepmother Henry and Betty Fankhauser.