A fallen Marine, a stolen iPhone filled with his last memories, and it’s owner.


Sgt. Ward Johnson, USMC  was killed earlier this year during rescue ops in Nepal. He was the Chief of a SuperHuey (Viper in the Corps) conducting humanitarian operations during a natural disaster.

imageHis helo went down, he and his team were killed in Nepal. Sgt Johnson deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit earlier in the year, and was attached to HMLA (Helo, Marine, Light Attack) squadron 469, with 3rd Marines. He was stationed in Pendleton, and lived there with his wife and kids, while serving with the 3rd Marines in a Light Attack Helo Squadron.

You can watch the full story below, but let’s go through a few things to be mindful of while you watch.

I enjoy finding news bits about how handset thieves, who get their ass handed to them in the end…by the phone itself. Crime in the mobile landscape is just like crime in any other vertical Segment of society. It’s filled with both good and bad people. Trying to adapt to trends in technology for different reasons, and the impact of the decisions made by one  affects lives of the other. I read stories about mobile devices and crime to get an idea of how mobile technology steers the behavior of culture, and in our culture that includes people who take other people’s tech.

While the intrinsic value of the device is important, the data residing on the handset is the more important issue. Sgt. Johnsons Widow said that the last videos she has of him are on that handset, and while she did have iCloud services and FindMyIPhone configured, she only had the 5Gig account.

So when her handset was taken after she set it down and walked away from it for a few minutes in a Liquor Store in Oceanside CA., Both her and Sgt. Johnsons father were visibly upset. She followed the right procedurIcloides for an iCloud enabled and FMI configured handset if the device Owner feels it was stolen:

You go to iCloud.com, remote lock it, put a message on the screen that indicates it’s a lost handset, and then put the device in lost-mode. Lost mode will allow the handset to connect to Networks in a mode that doesn’t give visual indicators it is reporting its current lat/long. Lost mode will also put a trace on the map movement, for trending where the phone goes. She tracked it back to the liquor store, but then the iPhone was taken off of the network.

It wouldn’t come back on.

Until the next day when it was returned after the news story broke The guy who returned it said he found it. It is possible he was in the Corps as well. I like stories like this because it gives me hope that a person still has a chance of being able to return to a compassionate state after being completely transformed into a full-douchebaggity douche for snatching someone else’s tech.

There are some great lessons learned here. From which everyone who has an iPhone can learn something:

1. Get your iCloud credentials on all the devices you own that belong to that Eco system.

2. Set up find my iPhone,, 2-step verification and if you have more than one mobile device, set one up as a trusted device so it can be used to authenticate use of the other.

3. It’s a mobile device, but it’s personal technology. Don’t leave it off your person ss you are back at the base.

4. Your iPhone isn’t meant for and wasn’t designed to be a rectangle shaped purse for your photos. Shoot, view, edit and archive–off the device.

If you need access to them whenever you are, there are so many cloud services that offer this function, the stupid that people generate by filling up their handsets with video and images to the point of capacity makes my head hurt.

Shoot. edit. archive. OFF the handset.

Your iPhone will never be full, it takes a few seconds to choose which out of the many you just shot are keepers. Get them off of the phone. Pony up the 2.99/Month for 200 GB of iCloud space. This way, you can create a folder in the cloud, copy all of your current media into that folder, and then delete them from all devices if you need to.

In iOS 9, you will have access to an iCloud app on your springboard:

This makes it handy to have all of your files, app data and whatever else you want To put in there will always be accessible from your iPhone or iPad, things like photos and videos.

Its great that things turned out ok for Mrs. Johnsons iPhone. Don’t let her experience be for naught! Do these things I have explained above and your iLife will be about remembering what you did, instead of figuring out where to save those memories.



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