Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: June 3, 2003
Hometown: Baldwin Park
High School: Sierra Vista High (Baldwin Park)
Atanasio Haro Marin Jr. was proud of his country, proud to be a soldier and proud to be serving in Iraq.Known as "Nacho' to family members, he looked forward to a long career in the Army, a choice that his parents Catalina and Atanasio did not like.
The 27-year-old went to Iraq with Fort Hood's 4th Infantry Division.
The Sierra Vista High School graduate was a ground artillery specialist, skilled at handling rocket launchers and other weapons, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dan Baggio, the chief of public affairs at Fort Hood.
Part of Operation Iron Horse, the government's movement to stabilize Iraq, Haro Marin and a band of soldiers came under attack Tuesday morning at a checkpoint south of Balad, Iraq, Baggio said. The town is 55 miles north of Baghdad.
Suspected Baath party supporters used Soviet made rocket- propelled grenades and guns to ambush the soldiers guarding the post, he said.
Haro Marin was shot and killed. Several others were injured. Despite the buildup of American forces in the area since the war, sympathizers of Saddam Hussein's regime - and others unhappy with the presence of foreign forces - continue to attack American troops.
"He was on duty working at the guard post when he came under attack,'
January was the last time the family was together, when Haro Marin was home on leave. Family members said he was fun- loving and full of energy.
This showed when he hit the dance floor. He loved a wide range of music, from classical to folklorico.
'Nacho was all over the place,' said sister-in-law Aracely Haro Marin. "He was never unhappy. He would say, 'Don't worry about it, there will be better times.' '
Trips home were spent visiting friends and family. Family ties grew tighter after his March deployment to the Middle East.
He managed to make two telephone calls in April upon arrival. He told his family he had no idea where he would be assigned. Haro Marin dashed off a Mother's Day card that read, "Don't worry, be happy.'
Haro Marin was born on June 14, 1975, in the small village of Momax, in Zacatecas, Mexico. While his father, Atanasio, worked in Los Angeles picking fruit and doing small construction jobs to support his wife and seven children, his mother took care of her family.
But Catalina Haro Marin wanted her family together. So in 1977, when Atanasio was 2, they moved to Los Angeles.
Haro Marin joined the National Guard immediately upon graduation, over the objections of his parents. When his service tour ended, he transferred to the Army and shipped out to Fort Sill, Okla. While in training, Ismael said, his brother helped save some soldiers trapped inside a helicopter that crashed near the base.
In January 2001, Haro Marin shipped out to Fort Hood, Texas.
Haro Marin is survived by his parents, brothers Victor, 38, Ismael, 36, and Carlos, 23, and sisters, Celia, 40, Catalina, 34, and Liliana, 30. Memorial services are pending.
"We are all going to miss him, we are missing him already,' Ismael said. "We wish it was a dream. We are trying to wake up to reality. There is so much pain.'
This story was published June 5, 2003
Read more about Army Sergeant Atanacio Haro Marin Jr.
in the SGV Tribune
and visit Sergeant Atanacio Haro Marin's Guest Book.
This picture is from Centex Fallen Heroes