Cpl Victor Julian Varela Martinez, passed from this life to the next on the night of February 4, 2022 at the age of 22. He was an active duty Marine serving in Okinawa, Japan for the past three years at the time of his death. He was killed alongside one of his many best buddies, LCpl Bailey C. Spencer of Illinois, in a horrific car accident along the expressway. Both Marines served valiantly, and with honor. They have left multitudes of family and friends heartbroken and devastated by this tragic loss.
“Julian,” or “V,” as his friends fondly called him, lived his life to the absolute fullest. His dream of becoming a Marine Raider was just within grasp after years of hard work, dedication and discipline—nothing was going to stop him. Overcoming many personal misfortunes throughout his life—including the death of his big sister just five years prior, he was an inspiration to many, but most especially to those closest to him. Julian’s attitude was awe-inspiring, as he continued to push, strive and rise above obstacles in order to reach each and every one of his goals. Becoming a United States Marine was not enough for him—he was determined to be among the best of the best, and earn his place among the Marine’s special operations community. This was his dream since he was a very young man. Born with a noble heart, and great desire to be a force for good in this world, “V” had a warrior mindset through and through.
After six long miserable months of boot camp (he got pneumonia and two broken ribs, but refused to quit!!!), he earned his title of United States Marine. He was assigned the job of motor-T mechanic—not by choice, but he did his best to keep looking up and moving forward! Though he did not get his desired job as an infantry Marine, he still had high hopes of becoming a Raider. He spent the next several years of his life training just to qualify for a spot at the USMC’s Assessment and Selection (A&S) for MARSOC Marines. He gave it everything he had, but eventually withdrew due to severe “swimmer’s ear” in both ears—among other things… He was devastated by this turn of events, thinking all was lost. When he realized that he still had an opportunity to go back to selection for another shot, he did not waste any time getting back to his highly rigorous training routine. He was truly unstoppable, it seemed.
The last several months of his life on this earth were spent in that very intense training, and in courses that had his momma on constant edge—most notably was his coxswain course!! Training out in the open ocean for six weeks or so, he had many fantastic stories to tell her of near misses with submarines and high action moments of “almost getting sucked under a ship!!”—adventures that only a young Marine could fully appreciate or love!!! His attitude was that, “even if it kills me, at least I will die doing what I love!” He refused to live his life in fear, and he served because he truly felt called to be there! This was, perhaps, one of the happiest times of his life.
“V” was all set to go back to A&S in early January of 2022, when he tested positive for covid19 just two days prior, and was forced to quarantine. His disappointment was immense, but with his typical attitude of “try again,” he set his mind to train even more intensely for the next available opening. This is precisely what he was doing the week he died—swim qualifications, in hopes of attending one of the Marines’ most advanced swim courses—all so he could exceed expectations when he finally got his chance to go back to A&S. That is the kind of person he was. He knew what he wanted, and even if it seemed like a long shot, he would do whatever it took to get there. Quitting was never an option for him.
But, God had a different plan for our young Marine… Even though he is already missed beyond measure, those closest to him know that because of the righteous and noble warrior that he was, he will always have their backs, and will never be far away. Friends were always family to Julian—in the truest sense of the word. He saw no distinction. Always selfless, humble, and reserved, he never spoke much about his religion, but he showed us all what was in his heart by the way he conducted his life and treated others. To say he made his family and his God proud is a huge understatement!!!
Julian had a tender heart since the time of his birth, and that never changed throughout his life. Always true to himself, and always immensely loyal to those he called family—he was considered a brother by many, and was looked up to as a leader. Not only was he loved and respected for his great work ethic, but he also had a reputation for helping others through difficult and even “dark” times. One such friend described “V” as already looking the part of a Marine Raider with his “long hair, rolled up sleeves, and laid back attitude,” saying he was 100% certain he would have made a “damn fine Marine Special Operations Raider.” Others have expressed how proud they were to have served alongside him. It has been said repeatedly of him that he was always there for his friends when they needed someone to listen to them, or give a hand—that he was the type of person that would have given the shirt off his back.
Born in Puerto Aysén, Chile on November 26, 1999, he came from extremely humble roots—but a place of deep love. He remained proud of his heritage his entire life, and he loved his Chilean family. He moved back to the United States when he was nearly two, with his parents and big sister, Josie. He spent his childhood in Olathe, Colorado. Most of his early years were spent helping his pápi with ranch work, camping, hunting and fishing with his grandpa and cousins, and just spending time with his family. They were always a very tight-knit bunch.
He loved his family more than anything, and from the moment his big sister was killed by a drunk driver, he courageously swallowed his own pain and stepped into the role of oldest “living” sibling and caretaker of his entire family. He was their rock, and gave them purpose to keep going in spite of the tragic loss they endured. He was gentle and kind to his little brother and sister, always spoiling them with packages in the mail and gifts aplenty. He was determined to look after the family, and do all he could to ensure they were taken care of at all times, and everyone was ok. He kept them laughing, and smiling, and hoping—even though their hearts constantly ached for his return. He was the light that kept on shining, even in the dark.
Julian was never one that enjoyed sitting for ANY length of time. In fact, he was walking by the time he was seven months old—even skipped crawling!!! Fortunately for him, being homeschooled his entire life offered plenty of opportunity and flexibility to develop his own unique gifts and passions. Some of these included playing cello, participating in the Valley Youth Orchestra, Boy Scouts, becoming a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol, martial arts, cross-country with the Delta Panthers, JROTC, being padawan to his beloved mentor, Kevin Humphreys, as he learned the art of falconry, archery, art, mountain biking with his “brother” Matt, snowboarding, and then once a Marine—spear fishing, the ocean, his “fuzzy cows” he left his mom in charge of at home, turning wrenches, and eventually an immense obsession with really fast cars!!!!!
Julian was very proud of his newly acquired 1991 Nissan Silvia S13… His mom even started to call his Silvia her granddaughter, because of the constant stream of photos he would send her of this new “love!!” Our service men and women sacrifice so much of themselves, and it gave his momma immense joy and peace knowing her son had a healthy outlet and hobby to help him cope with all the stresses and pressures that are so akin to military life. It was in this beautiful, shiny fast car that he and his brother, LCpl Spencer, would take their last ride…
Til Valhalla, Marines. You made your families oh so very proud!!! You served with honor up to the very end…
Julian is preceded in death by his beloved big sister, Gladys Josephine “Josie” Varela Martinez; his great-grandparents— Joe and Frances Martinez; his great-grandparents—Charles “Bud” and Jan Hinchman; his great-aunt, Cynthia Kline; and his childhood dog, Marceau. Survivors include his father and mother—Victor H. Varela and Michelle C. Martinez; his oldest brother—Frank Luis “Lucho” Varela and Sebastiana (Chile); his little sister—Maya F. Varela Martinez (14); little brother—Will Ryder Varela Martinez (6); his four grandparents—Will J. Martinez and Robin E. Hinchman, and José Jermain Varela Riquelme and Maria Edith Mariman Llancabure (Chile); a nephew he never got to meet—Agustín Varela (6 of Chile); and a great-grandma—Maria Llancabure Pinto (Chile). Other survivors include numerous cousins, aunts, uncles and other extended family that loved him beyond measure.
Cpl Varela Martinez’s service will be held with military honors on February 28, at 2:00 PM (MST) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Delta, Colorado located at 1679 Pioneer Rd. He will be laid to rest alongside his sister, Josie, in the Olathe Cemetery.
The Varela family extends their heartfelt gratitude for all the love, support, flowers, cards, donations, messages, visits, and prayers they have received during this tragic event—most especially from their USMC family!!!
Semper Fi. And God bless.