Based: Twentynine Palms, Calif.
1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: June 9, 2006
High School: Pioneer High (Whittier)
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside
June 11, 2010Your teachers at West Whittier Elementary School,
To the Guerrero family and to family and friends who knew Salvador. We remember him on this solemn anniversary. We thank him for the ultimate gift he gave us for our freedom. We knew you as a child, the country remembers your bravery as an adult.
~ Monica Granado Taylor, Whittier, California
Intent on sparing his mother from worrying, Marine Lance Cpl. Salvador Guerrero told her during his regular calls home from Iraq that he was training in Japan and would be home soon.
But last week, three Marines in uniform arrived on Rosa Guerrero's doorstep in Whittier to tell her that her son had been killed in combat June 9 west of Baghdad.
He had been in Iraq since March, she learned.
Guerrero had been fascinated by the military since he was a young boy and went to extraordinary lengths to join the Marine Corps.
Guerrero was still living at home with his parents in Whittier when he enlisted, and his first application to the Marines was rejected because he was overweight, Vega said.
Undeterred, Guerrero buckled down, hitting the gym, running and dieting until he dropped from 250 pounds to 170, Vega said.
He reapplied to the Marines and was accepted. But, shortly after arriving at boot camp, his superiors raised questions about the tattoo of an angel that Guerrero had on one arm.
Initial concerns that it might be gang-related were dispelled and the military let him stay after military officials confirmed that the angel was religious in nature -- a depiction of St. Michael.