Monday, October 08, 2007

Avealalo Milo dies 'of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire'

Army Spc. Avealalo Milo, 23, of Hayward was killed by small-arms fire in Iraq, the Department of Defense has announced.

Milo died Thursday in Baghdad when insurgents attacked his unit. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Vilseck, Germany.

He was born in American Samoa and lived there, and in nearby independent Samoa, until he moved to Hayward on Aug. 14, 2003, according to his sister, Veape Milo.

Veape Milo, 18, said by telephone from Samoa that her brother lived in Hayward with their uncle, Samu Leivaa, until joining the Army in 2005. "He went to California to seek a better future," she said.

Veape said it came as a surprise when her brother joined the Army. He had not talked about joining the Army before, she said.

Milo married his wife, Jocelynn, on July 18, she said. Jocelynn, who is also in the military, completed basic training Friday, Veape said.

Milo has two brothers and two sisters. She said she expects that Milo will be buried in American Samoa.

Veape said her brother liked playing rugby and soccer, and that he helped his siblings with their studies.

"Right when he deployed to Iraq, he always called trying to comfort our family so that we would not worry about him and his missions," she wrote in an e-mail. "He also wanted us to send him some corned beef and noodles, because these were his favorite foods that are not found in Iraq. And now he is gone without a word to us, but we know that he is truly safe in God's arms right now."
Milo is the second Hayward soldier killed in Iraq this year. Twenty-three-year-old Mt. Eden High School graduate Michael Balsley was killed by a roadside bomb east of Baghdad on Jan. 25.

According to Pacific Magazine, Milo is the 15th Samoan soldier to die in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.