Remembering James C. Knipple, Cpl. USMC

As part of my daily routine I read many photography blogs and websites and view images constantly.  Every once in a while a photo passes my way that evokes such emotion that I simply find it stunning.  This year marks 30 since I along with 300 other friends and classmates walked out the doors of Thomas Jefferson high School in Alexandria, VA, diploma in hand.  As our October class reunion nears I find myself sifting through old photos seeing what I can come up with that may inevitably embarrass my classmates in the reunion slideshow.

Through the wonders of FaceBook a classmate and friend of mine, Debbie, contacted me to ask if I could do anything with a handful of old black and white negatives she had found in the bottom of a box.  Now I am a sucker for vintage photography.  All the better when its people I may know.  I said “send them!”

The negatives arrived and promptly sat on my desk for days.  I eventually scanned one strip to examine the quality and was very surprised at what I found.  For the most part the images were intact and the scanner did a great job.  Yes they were scratched and pitted but I knew with a little photoshop savvy I could turn some of these into cool images for the slideshow.

Most of the images were what you might expect from a high schooler just learning photography; friends giggling and having fun, maybe someone giving you the bird ; )   I did manage to find a couple very funny ones and one or two of myself.  Then I stumbled on the photo below and was shocked.

Daniel Glass Photography

Debbie had captured this stunning image of our friend Jim in the senior court during our last year in high school.  James (Jim) Knipple was a very popular student and athlete in our class.  I personally only knew him casually during our years at TJ but he was always nice to me and it didn’t go unnoticed.   I did, however get to know him more in the year and a half after school as he had started dating the younger sister of a friend of mine.  I would run into him on weekend nights when he would be picking up one sister and I the other.  I remember well talking to him about his time in the Marine Corp, meeting one or two of his buddies, and especially what it was like living in Beruit.

I, like many others, was shocked and saddened when I heard of his passing on that terrible October day in ’83 when a suicide bomber ran a truck into his barrack in Beirut killing he and many of his buddies.  I like to think he was resting peacefully and never saw it coming.

Shortly after stumbling on this photo, Debbie and I reached out to Jim’s sister, Maggie, and sent her two canvas images of the final shot above.  I don’t know Maggie, but I can only imagine how pleased she must have been when they arrived.

Thank you Jim for all you and your buddies did to serve our country.  The ones you left behind are better for it and your service is greatly appreciated.

Thanks Debbie for capturing such a great image and letting me play with it.


PGS (photography geek speak):  The original image was scanned from a 30 year old 35 mm b&W neg with an Epson Perfection V500 scanner.  The scanner actually converts it to a black and white (positive) image.  The image was then pulled into Adobe Lightroom and tweaked for contrast and clarity.  Then its pulled into Adobe CS5 where its retouched for specks, hair, and other anomalies.  I made one correction on Jim’s eye explained on the original image on my FB Fan Page (look in the gallery section).  I also ran the Imagenomics Portrait Pro plug-in to further clean up Jim’s complexion.  The photo was converted from B&W to RGB color space so I could add a slight vintage tint.  The final image is framed using the onOne Frames plug-in for Photoshop.

You can find more on the Beruit bombing HERE.  Jim is remembered on an Embassy website HERE and on this FB page HERE commemorating the 27th anniversary.

Looking forward to reconnecting with old (OLD) classmates in OCT.


  • Kathy - June 8, 2011 - 11:28 AM

    Wow…nice, very nice.

  • robert - June 9, 2011 - 6:02 AM

    great story and an even better photo! what a find… 🙂


  • Bill - June 9, 2011 - 2:02 PM

    Dan-Well done

  • Tom - June 10, 2011 - 11:27 AM

    You have done a very nice thing for a very special family. Thank you for remembering and honoring the sacrifice of a U.S. Marine serving his country. Semper Fi.

  • Jack Knipple - June 14, 2011 - 7:43 PM

    Dan and Debbie,

    On behalf of the entire Knipple family I’d like to express our sincere gratitude for sharing this amazing image and your memories of our brother, Jim. We’re always so thankful to read personal accounts of the positive impact he had on so many people in such a short period of time. Thank you for remembering Jim, and thank you for publishing this wonderful image. Please know that it will become a very special part of our cherished collection of memories of our loving brother.


  • Tony Alpy - October 22, 2011 - 12:30 PM

    Wow timeless is the only word I can conjure up .. great photograph .. remember Jim on a regular basis and have passed those memories on to my children , they know his name and now have his image and are aware of his life and his sacrifice which keeps him alive in our thoughts and prayers for yet another generation … I owe him that for what he gave up so my family can live free

  • Carol Minor - October 23, 2011 - 6:03 PM

    Danny! What a beautiful job you did on Jimmy’s photo. My son races bikes and the photos you share are great! You have certainly been blessed with a wonderful talent.

    Take Care! Carol Minor Kilpatrick

  • Christina Belfiore - March 18, 2012 - 4:01 PM

    Beautiful… Thankyou.

  • Kevin Lehmann - May 27, 2012 - 7:50 PM

    There is a never a Memorial Day, nor an October 23rd that goes by that I don’t honor my friend and fellow Marine, Jim Knipple. Jim and I joined the Marine Corps together under the delayed entry program. I went to T.C. Williams high school and we worked together at Drug Fair.

    Assigned to D company in the 2nd Battalion, they separated us into different platoons and we wound up competing against each other in the final drill competition. Although all bets were on my platoon “2045,” Jim’s platoon blew us away. Jim was the quintessential Marine.

    I got talk to him shortly before that fateful day when I was on a WestPac tour in Japan. Jim teased me over the fact that I was in the Air wing, and that he was a real Marine. Indeed you were Jim, a Chesty Puller in the making.

    Thank you for this wonderful picture and post Daniel. For years and years I’ve checked to see if I could find anything from anyone else who knew Jim.

    I’d appreciate if you would forward this message to his family who I never met. Let them know that their son and brother resides in my heart and that Jim’s the first person on my mind every Memorial Day and every October 23rd.

    To Cpl James Knipple USMC, I love you brother . . .

    Semper Fi!

    Cpl Kevin A. Lehmann

  • Anonymous - July 17, 2012 - 1:48 PM

    to the sisters of knipple. i still remember your very very well. God bless him and your family.. (Remember the flag).

  • doug knipple - May 27, 2013 - 1:33 PM

    I would like to thank you for the picture and all of the things that were said! Thay were hard for me to read with out tearing up but all were very nice. Gives a good look into that part of his life l didn’t get to much of being only 11 at his passing!

  • Ivan Marrero - June 20, 2015 - 3:21 AM

    I have served with James Knipple. I will never ever forget him. We were at Camp Lejeune enlisted club playing pool table and James father walked in. He introduced everyone to his dad but we never payed attention to his dad, I did pay attention to how much admiration and respect James had for his dad and mother and I will never forget that. Ever!!! I actually looked up to James. Never ever will forget his persona and smile. Ivan Marrero LPCL USMC !st Bn 8th Mar 2nd Mar Div Camp Lejeune NC.

  • Ivan Marrero - June 20, 2015 - 3:28 AM

    Remmembering James is the typical American Boy. God bless him and his Family. Ivan Marrero Spring Hill Florida 34608.

  • DEBORAH KNIPPLE PETERSON - June 23, 2015 - 12:15 AM

    Thank you, Ivan Marrero for sharing your heartfelt memories of Jim. This message is especially welcome so near to Father’s day. They were very much alike in that people were drawn to them and they both gave great hugs. We laughed and laughed when we all got together. Losing Jim broke all our hearts but our father took it especially hard. He died in 1996 and my mom in 2004. They are both buried in Section 59 Arlington National Cemetery very near to Jim and other Beirut brothers. I pray all is well with you and if you are ever in the Washington, DC area please stop by for a visit. You may contact me anytime on FB. Thanks again for remembering Jim. He was a very special person with a beautiful spirit … just ask anyone who ever met him. 🙂

    Deborah Knipple Peterson
    Fairfax, VA 22032

  • Debra Hall - November 9, 2017 - 9:56 PM

    I remember Jim Knipple from elementary school, Weyanoke Elementary School. I had a crush on him, he was so cute. I gave him a Valentines day card, and he was so polite about it, as he was interested in a girl named Monica Lute or Monica Graybill, it was a long time ago. When I saw the news the evening of October 23, 1983, and the news revealed a local resident, James Knipple was killed, my jaw dropped and I cried. Today, November 9, 2017, I have been feeling nostalgic last few days, and I googled James Knipple and saw this photo of him with his birthday of today, I surprised myself. He was so nice and kind. My Father too is a Marine, 22 years, then retired. I only knew Jimmy a little bit at Weyanoke, but I will always love him. Semper Fi sweet Man, Marine and Angel. Thanks for your service and sacrifice.

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