Friday, April 20, 2007

Jesse D. Delatorre dies 'from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations'

According to the Marine Corps, Delatorre died from wounds sustained during combat in Iraq, but no further information was released about how he was killed.

Delatorre was a member of the 2nd Battalion out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. His unit was deployed in January to fight in Iraq, according to a press release.

Delatorre was awarded the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal, a Marine spokesman said. He is survived by his parents, Aureliano and Raquel Delatorre, who could not be reached Tuesday.

A 1998 East Aurora High School graduate, Delatorre was at the top of his class academically and participated in band, choir, drama and the Naval Junior ROTC, said district spokesman Clayton Muhammad.

Kevin Kaisershot, former East Aurora High School band director, said Delatorre was a leader in his class who "lit up underneath the saxophone" and excelled at playing improvisational jazz solos with skills reminiscent of much older musicians.

"Those kinds of kids come along every once in a while," Kaisershot said. "It's hard to find them each and every year."

He was also a "very spiritual kid" who often carried the Bible to class and would stop arguments between other students, Kaisershot said.

"He was the nicest kid," said Mike Russell, who was in the East High band with Delatorre. "He always had a smile on his face."

"He would always do anything for anybody," Russell said.

From the Beacon News