Saturday, February 03, 2007

Adam Q. Emul slain by sniper

A 19-year-old U.S. Marine who graduated 18 months ago from Vancouver's Hudson's Bay High School was killed Monday in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Adam Quitugua Emul died from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq, the military said. Emul's family said he was hurt by a hidden bomb while on foot patrol in a 13-member squad.

Originally from Tanapag village, Saipan, Emul moved to Vancouver in November 2003 and enrolled at Hudson's Bay. He graduated in June 2005, enlisted in the Marines two months later and deployed to Iraq last September.

Emul is the 88th member of the U.S. military from Oregon or Southwest Washington to die in war since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. He's the 15th person to die from Micronesia.

Emul lived in Vancouver with a sister, her husband and children, who all emigrated from Saipan together.

Coming from a tropical island, "the weather was a big adjustment for him," Emul's sister Mary Ann Mendiola, 30, said Thursday. Emul saw snow for the first time, she said, and he embraced change and liked seeing a different part of the world.

He learned to snowboard. He liked getting together with friends to play video games on their Xboxes. Emul was quiet, independent and wanted to make a career out of the Marines, Mendiola said.

"We didn't think it was a good idea at the time," she said. "But we supported him, because it was what he wanted."

Emul didn't tell his family much about what he was experiencing in Iraq, Mendiola said. But he would ask them to send candy to pass out to children.

Emul's high school art teacher, Susan Cole, said he was always supportive of others.

"He was so responsible and so considerate," Cole said in a statement. "He's the kind of kid you'd give a job recommendation to in a heartbeat. He was a wonderful person to know."

In Saipan, family members started a nightly rosary at the Tanapag church. Mendiola is doing the same at her home. She said his remains are being returned to Saipan for burial. Mendiola and 18 other family members in the U.S. will travel to Saipan for a military funeral.

Mendiola said it's painful wondering about the hour she is told her brother lived after he was injured, how much he hurt and if there's anything he wanted to say to them.

"It would really be nice to know," she said. "It's just so hard to understand."

Mendiola's 10-year-old son will come to her now and say, "Mom, Adam promised us he was going to be OK."

She can only respond, "Adam meant to keep that promise to us."

Emul also is survived by two brothers, Frankie Quitugua and Christopher Quitugua; two sisters, Clarissa Mendiola and Mindy Quitugua; and parents, Angelica Quitugua and Wayne Emul.

From the Oregonian