Thursday, August 16, 2007

Paulo Marko U. Pacificador dies 'of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device'

Paulo Marko Pacificador joined the military to carry on the legacy of his father and grandfather, both former soldiers in the Philippines.

It was in pursuit of family tradition that Pacificador, 24, of Shirley, lost his life Monday in Iraq.

The Army private first class was among three soldiers killed when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Qayyarah, according to the Department of Defense.

His family Thursday night recalled a vivacious young man, who felt compelled to serve in the military.

"It was something he had to do traditionwise, because my dad and my dad's dad and my dad's grandfather were all in the military," said his youngest brother, Rey Patrick Pacificador, 21. "Since I knew I wasn't going and my other brother wasn't going, he decided to keep up the tradition."

Paulo Marko Pacificador was born in 1982 in Buguey, Cagayan, in the Philippines. His family moved to the United States in 1988 and lived in Virginia before moving to Jamaica, Queens, a few years later. They moved to Shirley about six years ago.

Pacificador attended Hillcrest High School in Queens and graduated from William Floyd High School, where he spent one year, his family said.

An automotive enthusiast, Pacificador spent umpteen hours working in the garage on his 2003 Toyota Celica, his brother said.

"He did it 24-7," he said. "He modded it out."

Pacificador attended Suffolk Community College, where he studied computer engineering, his family said. He also took online classes while stationed in Iraq.

Pacificador left for basic training in Oklahoma in January 2006, said his mother, Elsie Pacificador, 50. He was sent to Iraq less than a year later, on Oct. 30.

"There were balloons all over the place at home, and he says, 'I'm going,' and I said 'I'll miss you,'" she said. "It was my 50th birthday, and my son was being deployed in Iraq."

Pacificador had hopes of being an officer, his father said.

"My son is full of life. He has lots of ambition," said his father, Jose Pacificador, a former soldier in the Philippines Air Force. "He has a dream to be somebody to someone."

A member of the 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Pacificador returned from Iraq for two weeks in February.

"He was enjoying himself, eating, drinking with his friends," his mother said, adding that he helped out around the house, fixing a faucet and shower nozzle.

Her son was starting to grow up, she said. Now, she said, she feels only pain.

"Oh my Lord, I cannot describe it," she said. "It hurts so much."

From Newsday