Thursday, March 01, 2007

Anthony Aguirre remembered

Arturo Aguirre remembers the moment two years ago when his son told him he had enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Since his days in the Marine Corps ROTC program at Channelview High School in Houston, the son, 20-year-old Anthony Aguirre, aspired to serve his country, and his father knew he could say nothing to stop him.

"He always wanted to be a Marine," said Arturo Aguirre, 69, speaking from his home in Raymondville, Texas. "He was always a happy guy, laughing and joking around."

Lance Cpl. Anthony Aguirre died Monday of wounds received while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. A roadside bomb exploded near his convoy, fatally wounding him.

The corporal was a mortarman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

He is the 10th Hawai'i Marine with the 2nd Battalion to be killed in Iraq since late September.

Approximately 1,000 Marines with the unit are serving a seven-month tour in the Haditha Dam area northwest of Baghdad.

Anthony Aguirre joined the Marine Corps in August 2005 and reported to Hawai'i in February 2006. He deployed to Iraq in September 2006.

While with the Marine Corps, he was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Arturo Aguirre said his son spent summers with him growing up and lived in Houston with his mother, Leticia Loa, during the school year.

As a child, Anthony Aguirre loved to swim, and when he would visit his father as an adult, the pair would travel to Padre Island, where the son enjoyed hanging out on the beach, he said.

The last time Arturo Aguirre saw his son was Labor Day.

The father and son spoke four weeks ago, and Anthony Aguirre told his father that things were hard. Four other members from his unit had died recently, and the fighting was frequent, he told his father.

"He died a hero," his father said. "I am sure he is real proud right now."

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Related Link:
Anthony Aguirre reported killed in Iraq