Saturday, April 2, 2011

Felipe de Jesus Sandoval-Flores, Marines, Lance Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Felipe de Jesus Sandoval-Flores , 20

Marines, Lance Corporal
Based: Camp Pendleton
1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 2, 2006
Al Asad (near), Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: Locke High (Los Angeles)
Foreign Country of Birth: Mexico
Burial: Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City

"The single and most prevalent fear of most men is death," he wrote for his high school English class just months before he graduated.

His essay, somber and filled with references to Scripture, underscored Sandoval-Flores' recognition, even as a teenager, that, as he wrote, "Tomorrow is never promised."

The essay ends with this: "Death scares me, but it is coming, ready or not...."

Looking back, his sister said she believes the serious conversations that she and her younger brother often had were meant to prepare her and the rest of the family for the worst.

A devout Catholic, Sandoval-Flores may have been prepared for death, but he also embraced life, family and friends said.

"Felipe was always a giving kind of person, a good heart," said another longtime friend, Raoul Gonzalez, 22.

Whether it was letting friends win at video games, counseling young parishioners on the Catholic rite of confirmation or helping out the homeless, Sandoval-Flores savored every day, Gonzalez said.

Once, Gonzalez remembered, the two were out distributing food, clothes and hot chocolate to the poor when Sandoval-Flores spotted a boy about 9 or 10 years old in line with the others.

"Felipe had this new sweater, not even 2 weeks old, and when he saw this young kid, he didn't hesitate, he took off his sweater and gave it to him," Gonzalez said.

At his funeral, more than 200 family members and friends watched Sandoval-Flores' body carried to his grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City by a white carriage drawn by two white horses.

"Words cannot explain how much we miss him," his parents wrote in a letter to The Times. "We are proud as [his] parents because, despite being poor, we were able to raise a good young man with a big heart who loved and respected his fellow human beings."

In a separate letter, his younger sister, Michelle, wrote: "April 2, 2006, I recognized true sorrow; my brother was not coming home."

But through the pain, she wrote, "I am glad Felipe is no longer living in that hell called war."

Do read the entire LA Times article about Marine Lance Corporal Felipe de Jesus Sandoval-Flores.
Find messages and remembrances at
Fallen Heroes and in Lance Corporal Sandoval-Flores' Guest Book.

Vicky Huynh grieves as she looks at a memorial for her fiance Lance Cpl. Felipe D. Sandoval-Flores (sp right) and other fallen serviceman and women from the 1st. Marine Logistics Group Forward during a memorial Service held Friday on Camp Pendleton. Vicky's fiancee, gave his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Killed with Lance Cpl. Felipe D. Sandoval-Flores were:

Cpl. David Bass of Davidson, Tenn.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Gallagher of Duval, Fla.

Cpl. Brian St. Germain of Kent, Rhode Island

Staff Sgt. Abraham Twitchell of Yelm, Wash.

Cpl. Andres Aguilar Jr. of Victoria, Texas

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