Sunday, May 06, 2007

John D. Flores dies of 'wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire'

Another Guam soldier has died defending freedom in Iraq.

Army Pfc. John D. Flores, 21, of Barrigada was one of two American soldiers killed Thursday when their unit came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire in Baghdad, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed.

Flores is survived by his wife Charlene and their 18-month-old daughter Chloe. Mass and rosary for the fallen soldier began last night.

Flores had joined the Army to eventually relocate his young family and purchase a home in the States, his mother-in-law Cindy Kazuo said.

"Their daughter Chloe, she's just a baby," Kazuo said. "He told us he joined the Army to support his family. We were proud to support him."

The young couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary in January, she added.

Extended family members gathered Friday night at his grandmother-in-law's home in Dededo to receive the news of his death.

"All of my family was there and we all just broke down in tears," said his cousin-in-law Ken Kuper.

"It as one of the saddest days of my life because he was like a brother to me," he said.

Kuper said he's still in shock with the loss of his friend and cousin-in-law who would never hesitate to assist anyone in need.

"There will be no nicer person than John Flores," Kuper said. "He was the most respectful, the most generous, appreciative person that I personally have ever known."

Kazuo echoed the same sentiments.

"I'm very proud to say that he was very respectful to myself and my family. You don't really find that a lot in a son-in-law," she said. "He will be very, very missed."

As the island yesterday began mourning the death of yet another of its sons in Iraq, Del. Madeleine Bordallo issued the following statement to the community:

"I am deeply saddened to learn that our island has lost another son in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In this time of sorrow, I join our people in offering condolences and prayers to (Flores') family, loved ones and friends," Bordallo said.

"Pfc. John Flores was a fine soldier with a young family who served our nation with selfless dedication," the delegate said.

"He answered the call to duty of our nation and he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom -- we owe him a debt of gratitude," Bordallo continued. "We honor his service and we pray for his family. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Charlene, his daughter, Chloe, and his extended family and friends."

Acting Gov. Mike Cruz also issued a statement yesterday expressing the island's condolences.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Pfc. John Flores," Cruz said. "Jennifer and I are deeply saddened by the death of a fellow soldier whose sacrifices we will always hold close to our hearts. He is a hero and he will be missed greatly."

From the Pacific Daily News