Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bernard P. Corpuz, Army, Corporal -- Rest In Peace

Bernard P. Corpuz, 28

Army, Corporal
Based: Ft. Hood, Texas
303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: June 11, 2006
Ghazni, Afghanistan
Gender: Male
Hometown: Watsonville
High School: Palma High School (Salinas)
Burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

From the LA Times:
When her son left for Afghanistan, Margaret Corpuz took comfort in the thought that he was going off to do something he loved.

Cpl. Bernard P. Corpuz was a trained interrogator who had just completed a rigorous six-month course in French at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., and was assigned to the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade at Ft. Hood, Texas.

"He was a wonderful soldier and a wonderful son," she said. "He was patriotic. He loved what he did. He loved the Army."

Then the worst thing happened.

Corpuz, 28, of Watsonville died in Ghanzi, Afghanistan, on June 11 from wounds suffered when his convoy came under small-arms fire and an improvised explosive device detonated during combat.

"He is my only son," his mother said.

Corpuz's death also stunned the small faculty at Palma High School, an all-boys Catholic prep school in Salinas where he graduated in 1995.

Brother Patrick Dunne, the school's principal, said Corpuz struggled academically but learned the value of competition both inside and outside the classroom.

"He worked very hard to achieve and excel," Dunne said. "He was not the best athlete and not the best academically, but he got great results because he tried hard."

In his junior year, Corpuz blossomed as an athlete -- in soccer and track -- and as a scholar.

That year, Dunne said, Corpuz got a car and began driving himself to school each day. He was never late.

"He would always joke that he was here before some of the kids who lived around the corner," the principal said. "He was a nice young man. Wiry, bubbly and easy to please."

After graduation, Corpuz would return to his high school from time to time. It was as if he had never left.

"He had a magnetic personality; everybody still loved him," Dunne said. "And he liked it here."

Corpuz attended Hartnell College in Salinas on a track scholarship and also worked in a local coffee shop and bagel bakery. In 2003, he graduated from the University of La Verne with a major in political science.

Then he joined the Army and was chosen to study a foreign language at the Defense Language Institute. He completed the course in April 2005 and headed to Afghanistan, where he was considered very fluent in French and corresponded regularly with his former instructors from overseas.

"He was in military intelligence and his responsibilities varied as an interpreter and interrogator," said Lt. Col. Mark Hobart, who visited the family.

"He had a lot of grit, and I like that about him," Hobart said. "It saddens me when we lose people like that. We don't have a lot of those people around."

Corpuz will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Read more about Army Corporal Bernard P. Corpuz at Fallen Heroes 
and find more at Arlington Cemetery
Visit Corporal Bernard P. Corpuz's Guest Book.

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