CPL Justin Sanders Haynes, 26, was killed in a car accident Saturday on Highway 30 outside of Oxford around 1:30 a.m. as reported by the Clarion Ledger. His name may not sound familiar to you, but his face is known all over the country and holds a special place in the hearts of thousands of Ole Miss fans.
Haynes was pictured with fellow Marine and Ole Miss student CPL Eric Nix in an iconic photo of with an Ole Miss flag while the two where in Afghanistan. The flag was sent to them by the Ole Miss Athletic Department and became one of the most popular posts on the Ole Miss Facebook page, “Forever OLE MISS,” as well as garnishing attention from the Ole Miss Alumni Association website. Haynes and Nix met during their time at Ole Miss and formed a bond that Nix described as being closer than brothers.
“We’re both huge Ole Miss fans, so we decided one day we were going to show our pride and take the picture with one of our vehicles,” Nix said. Not even he thought that the picture him and his best friend took to showcase their team spirit would turn into one of the most iconic photos in the Ole Miss community.
Haynes previously began with another unit, but quickly switched to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines once he and Nix heard the 1/23rd was leaving for Afghanistan. They were one of only nine Marine reserve battalions in the country.
Services will be held for Haynes on Monday at 2 p.m. at North Oxford Baptist Church, followed by a burial in Eastover Memorial Cemetery in Oxford. The cause of the crash is still being looked into by investigators.