Based: Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: March 10, 2006
Fallouja (near), Iraq
High School: Modesto High (Modesto)
Burial: Lakewood Memorial Park, Hughson, Calif.
Even as a child, Bunny Long knew that he wanted to be a soldier. When he was 6, he asked his mother for a camouflage uniform with the words "U.S. Army" stitched across the shirt.
So it was with little surprise -- but considerable pride among his family of Cambodian immigrants -- that he enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Long, 22, was killed March 10, one month before the end of his tour, when a suicide car bomber sped toward a command post he was guarding in Fallouja, west of Baghdad.
Long was standing at an upper-floor window when the explosion destroyed the front of the building, killing him immediately as well as two Iraqis, said Marine Capt. Donn Puca, the casualty officer for Stanislaw and San Joaquin counties. "The shrapnel is what got him," Puca said.
He was credited with saving nearly two dozen troops in the incident that claimed his life.
Puca said that Long had parked his truck adjacent to the tower he was guarding. The vehicle deflected some of the exploding shrapnel, sparing other Marines.
Another, from a commanding officer, Col. L.D. Nicholson, said that Long "will always be a hero and an angel to the Marines of his company."
Long's older brother, Bunna, 31, helped raise him. The two are 9 1/2 years apart. Bunna has turned a glass cabinet inside his Modesto home into a makeshift memorial. It holds Bunny's personal belongings, including his photo album, his favorite hat, one of his uniforms and five U.S. flags that have been flown in his honor in Washington and Iraq.
"It gives me memories of him every time I look at it," Bunna Long said. "I pretty much raised him when he was little. I changed his diapers. I took care of him. I fed him. There are times when I see him as a baby running around."