Based: Vilseck, Germany
2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 4, 2007
Baghdad (southern part), Iraq
High School: Lepa School (Samoa)
Burial: American Samoa
Few people on the small Polynesian islands of American Samoa, a United States territory roughly the size of Long Beach, know how many of the nearly 58,000 residents have gone to fight in Iraq.In addition to his father, Milo is survived by his mother, Folola; and four siblings.
But everyone knows how many have died: There have been 16 funerals since the war began in 2003, eight of those since January.
The 23-year-old Army specialist and former resident of Hayward, Calif., was killed Oct. 4 when his unit was attacked with small-arms fire in Baghdad.
Togiola Tulafono, the governor of American Samoa, whose daughter just returned from her second tour of duty in Iraq, said the territory's people are "like one big family." He added, "A loss to one family is a loss to everyone, and the pain is felt all across the family."
On the second Sunday of every month, the people gather in churches to pray for their sons and daughters in Iraq; they figure their children need all the prayers they can get.
"Parents here surely believe their son or daughter is not coming back," Mareko Milo said.
Added Tulafono, "Our people tend to look at the military as family. In a family, you do what it takes, and you don't complain about it."
As for Mareko Milo's remaining four children, "My two sons have said the mission my son Ave started, they will finish. I don't know exactly what I'm going to tell them."
He believes their chances aren't good.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Avealalo Milo here, and read more here.