Saturday, May 14, 2011

Michelangelo A. Mora, Army, Private 1st Class -- Rest In Peace

Michelangelo A. Mora, 19

Army, Private 1st Class
Based: Ft. Polk, La.
3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: May 14, 2004
Najaf, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Arroyo Grande
High School: Arroyo Grande High (Arroyo Grande)
Burial: Arroyo Grande Cemetery, Arroyo Grande, Calif.
I was in basic with Mora. Of all the people there I remember him the most. He could not be broken. He was a strong young man and someone who never failed to help lift up a smaller, or weaker friend.
I think about you all the time my friend... I expect you to be there at the pearly gates with a smile on your face and a story or 2 for me. Miss you brother
— Blake Rampy
October 3, 2010 at 6:15 a.m.
"mora, this world hasn't been the same since your departure, i believe i speak for the majority of us when i say that most of 3/2 never left najaf, and we are still wandering the desert. may you be in a better place than us, and may you know peace, i love you brother, i will see you soon.
scouts out"
PFC Van Auken, Jason of albuquerque NM USA
Mora, who had been in Iraq almost a year, was originally scheduled to come home in April, but his tour was extended, his father said. He was killed May 14 when his military vehicle overturned on a road in Najaf, according to military officials.
Mora was born in East Los Angeles, but his family moved to Arroyo Grande, a coastal town north of Santa Barbara, when he was an infant. His father said the family was looking for a better life away from the big city.

"Michelangelo was one of those kids who didn't have a shy bone in his body," his father said. "He was the loud one, the one who wanted to be in the middle of everything. Everybody knows him here. Everybody who met him, he made sure nobody forgot him."

An avid skateboarder and outgoing young man, Mora attended Arroyo Grande High School for two years, but as his grades declined, he looked for a way to get back on track, his family said.

Mora decided to enroll at Grizzly Youth Academy at Camp San Luis, a military-style high school program operated jointly by the California National Guard and San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.

Mora, a lanky kid, thrived in the structured program, attending classes between making his bunk, marching and performing physical fitness exercises with other boys and girls.

"I found him to be very bright," said Capt. John Oberg, who operates the academy. "He had a lot of energy about him. He sort of had a light about him that just kind of made those around him like him and made the place a better place for everybody."

 Oberg and Mora's family agree that the academy sent Mora in a positive direction. The teenager liked the military structure so much, they said, that he decided to join the Army after he completed the academy's program in June 2002.

Mora completed basic training at Ft. Knox, Ky. He was deployed to Iraq in July.

In the last few weeks, Mora had told his parents that he was worn down by daily attacks on American troops. "By the end of April, he just wanted to come home," his father said, adding that Mora had asked him to arrange for a family vacation in Cancun, Mexico. "He should have been home."

Mora is also survived by his mother, Maria Mora; and a brother, Julian Andrew, 12.
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Private 1st Class Michelangelo A. Mora here.
Find more at Military Times, f
ind messages and memories of Private Mora at Fallen Heroes
and visit Private Michaelangelo Mora's Guest Book.

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