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Pfc. Alex Oceguera, 19, was an infantryman assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).
A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Oceguera enlisted in the Army in June 2005 and trained at Fort Benning, Ga., to be an infantryman.
He is survived by his parents and a sister.
Oceguera was traveling in a vehicle in Wygal Valley when he and another soldier from the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., were killed by an improvised explosive device.
The explosion also mortally wounded Sgt. Charles J. McClain, 26, of Fort Riley, Kan., who later died in Asadabad.
Oceguera was born in San Bernardino,and his family moved to Montclair when he was a child.
He graduated from Montclair High School in June 2005.
During his four years there, Oceguera did not make a name for himself through sports or awards. Instead, it was his personality and charm that made a lasting impression...
In the Army, Oceguera's skills as an infantryman shone through.
In less than two years, he won the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge, according to the Fort Drum press office.
Don't miss the entire LA Times article about Army Private First Class Lukas C. Hopper here and read more from his Merced hometown paper here.
The last time he saw Hopper, Alcorn said, his friend was becoming more serious about his future.
"He wanted to go to school after the Army," Alcorn said. "He wanted a family, wanted to grow old together and live simply."
Army National Guard Sgt. Shakere T. Guy was known among his fellow soldiers for his fun-loving sense of humor and his efforts to help the Iraqi people. He used his own money to buy the children toys, soccer balls, clothes and candy.
Born in Jamaica, Guy became a U.S. citizen in July 2004. A few months later, the 23-year-old Pomona resident was dispatched to Iraq as a member of the National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment in Modesto.
Guy was one of two guardsmen killed Oct. 29 when a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee they were riding in during a combat mission in Baghdad. Also killed was National Guard Capt. Raymond D. Hill II, 39, of Turlock, Calif.
Guy, who was engaged to be married, is survived by his mother, Donna Sanguinette, and a sister, Tracy Ann Smith, both of Pomona.
At an emotional memorial service for Guy and three other soldiers in the same company, including the battalion commander, who were killed within a few days, one friend recalled that Guy was beside him the first time they were attacked with explosives.
"I couldn't have asked for a better soldier by my side," the unidentified soldier said in a eulogy for Guy. "He performed very well at his assigned duties, whether it be as a gunner or driver. He maintained a high level of alertness, and was quick to point out weaknesses to help the team. Guy wore the uniform proudly.
Cpl. Billy Gomez of Perris, California died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he was taken after his vehicle struck a homemade bomb Oct. 20 in Naka, Afghanistan. He was a member of the medical corps and enlisted in the Army in August 1997. Originally from Perris, Calif., Gomez was the youngest of triplets. Both of his brothers are also in the Army. Mark is a member of 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, serving on Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, and Joey is assigned to a unit on Fort Sill, Okla. He was 25.Army
|Spc. Visala Tui (see below), a medic with HHC, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Rgt., pays his respects following a memorial service for his best friend, Cpl. Billy Gomez Oct. 30 at Forward Operating Base Orgun -E, Afghanistan. Gomez, who was also a medic in HHC, 2-27, died Oct. 27 from injuries he sustained when his vehicle hit an IED Oct. 20 in Afghanistan. US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bradley Rhen. |
Find more pictures of Army Corporal Billy Gomez' memorial here (scroll down once you reach the link):
Sgt. 1st Class Metzger, 32, was one of seven Army Special Operations Command soldiers [and one of two from Fort Bragg] killed in Afghanistan Oct. 26 when the helicopter carrying them crashed in the western province of Badghis. Also killed were three Drug Enforcement Administration agents. Most of those on board, including U.S. and Afghan personnel, survived the crash.Read the entire LA Times story on Army Sergeant 1st Class David E. Metzger here, read more here and here and find a story and photographs from NBC San Diego here.
Metzger was on his third deployment to Afghanistan. Fellow soldiers lauded his dedication and described him as a strapping, affable comrade who paid close attention to detail.
"He was someone you could count on," Master Sgt. Javier F. Martinez, the senior enlisted sergeant on Metzger's team, said by telephone from Afghanistan. "He was someone you'd want there in the heat of battle. You always knew he was watching your back."
Metzger was buried at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, after several services celebrating his life.
Survivors include Alicia Metzger and the couple's two sons, David Jr., 13, and Grant, 2, of Fort Bragg; and his grandmother Dolores Wallen and parents, David Metzger and Lisandra Holstein, of California.
On Oct. 29, [Captain Ramond D. Hill II] and another guardsman were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in southern Baghdad. The blast followed raids earlier that day that netted 39 suspected insurgents in the area, Markert said.Read the entire LA Times article about Army National Guard Captain Raymond D. Hill II here and read more here, here and here.
Hill was on his way to deliver educational supplies and humanitarian aid to Iraqis affected by military operations, officials said...
"His passion was his family, and the military," said Ron Hill, Ray's brother. "He loved what he was doing."
Hill's unit did a first Middle East tour in 2001, heading to Kuwait as terrorists struck New York and the Pentagon. He returned to Iraq in January.
He wrote his wife, Dena, soon after arriving. Balancing obligations to his family -- including daughters BreeAnna, 13, and Alyssa, 10 -- and the military wasn't always easy or convenient, he wrote.
"My heart aches for the time I am missing; missing important dates, events and special moments. I know you think I see this as just a big adventure and a carefree event for me.
"I admit I was willing to go. After all, this is what I have trained for, for the past 18 years.... If I did not go, someone else would have to."
Hill's unit operates in a heavily Sunni Muslim area that has been a hotspot of insurgent attacks.
Since mid-September, 11 members of the 184th Regiment have been killed. Three officers were fatally wounded in bomb attacks in a single week, including Hill and a colonel, the highest-ranking commander killed in the war.
Ron Hill said his brother, who e-mailed and spoke with family members two days before he died, never expressed despair over casualties or fear for his own safety.
Instead, he was encouraged by the appreciation he received from Iraqis, especially children, Ron Hill said.
"The gratitude he experienced was 'beyond comprehension.' Those were some of his words."
Richard P. Slocum joined the Marine Corps right after high school because he wanted to become a man, his father says.Read more about Marine Lance Corporal Richard Patrick Slocum here, and find him mentioned on a C-Span video here and at Military Monday on CCR...
Always a "tough guy," the 19-year-old viewed the military as a way to serve his country while gaining new skills and discipline, his father, Robert, said.
"Ricky felt the Marines would make a man of him," he said. "It definitely did."
The lance corporal was killed Oct. 24 in a noncombat accident when a Humvee he was riding in rolled over near Abu Ghraib, Iraq, his father said.
Slocum had been manning a machine gun in the turret when the Humvee swerved to avoid a barrier in the road. He was fatally ejected when the vehicle rolled over, his father said.
He said his son had hoped to attend college after a four-year stint in the military.
Robert Slocum and his wife, Kay, supported their son's decision to join the Marines shortly after his graduation from Saugus High School last year even though no one else in the family had served in the military since the Korean War.
Slocum played football and baseball and enjoyed bodybuilding in high school, his father said. After straying from religion, Slocum began quoting Bible verses in letters home as he approached his duty in Iraq, his father said.
"He had a tough-guy image," Robert Slocum said. "But deep down inside, he had a soft heart and would do anything for family and friends."
In addition to his parents, Slocum is survived by a brother, Robert, 22; a sister, Kimberly, 24; his grandparents, Bob and Shirley Slocum of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Hilma Kelley of Lancaster; and a nephew.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Eternal Valley Mortuary in Newhall.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Burial will be at Eternal Valley Cemetery in Newhall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross. Checks should be made out to ARC-Service to Military Families and sent to 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.
But it wasn't until after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Sim was a student at Santa Ana’s Valley High School, that he decided how he wanted to give back to the country.
"He just knew it's what he wanted to do -- we all did, him, my brother and I," said Rossy Morales, Sim's childhood neighbor. "We always talked about it, and how we were going to go fight for our country."
After graduation, he attended Orange Coast College for two semesters and then joined the Marines in 2004.
Morales, 22, said her brother, Jay, enlisted in the Marines on the same day as Sim and fought alongside him in Iraq. She later joined the Army herself and will head to Iraq in December.
Marine Cpl. Sal Loera holds Donovan Sim,
the one-year-old son of his friend, Lance Cpl. San Sim.
The two served two tours together.
When Navy Hospitalman Charles O. Sare deployed to "the sandbox" Sept. 1, he took with him a teddy bear given to him by his girlfriend of seven months. He told her that he would keep it by his heart, she recounted on Sare's home page on MySpace.com.
A medic, Sare was killed when a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense.
|With his Mom|
|With his Dad|