Marine to serve where friend died
Duty will take him to the same part of Iraq where his buddy and two others were killed
Isle Marine Sgt. Daniel Tsue's death in Iraq was doubly heart-wrenching for one California mother.
Karren Minkler said that not only were her son and Tsue buddies, but next week, her son, Marine Sgt. Kelly Minkler, will go to Iraq and serve in the same area where Tsue and two other members of their bomb disposal class were killed.
Tsue, 27, was killed Nov. 1 by a homemade bomb near Ar Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad.
Tsue and Kelly Minkler were roommates for a year while the two attended a bomb ordnance disposal class at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida last year, Karren Minkler said from her home in Oakhurst, Calif., 15 miles south of Yosemite National Park.
"They were very, very close," she said. "Kelly told me yesterday that he could see them being friends until they were old and retired. They both wanted to make the Marine Corps a career."
She talked with her son Thursday, and he told her that he had been invited by Tsue's father, Richard, to attend Daniel's funeral today at Borthwick Mortuary. But her son cannot attend because he is scheduled to leave for Iraq on Friday, she said.
Tsue, a 1996 Kahuku graduate, will be buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery of the Pacific on Monday, starting at 1 p.m.
Karren Minkler met Tsue when he made a special trip to Florida last year to attend her son's graduation from explosive ordnance disposal school. The two men attended the same EOD class but graduated at different times, she said.
"He (Dan) was very friendly. He was quiet but had a good sense of humor. He was really, really nice ... friendly and outgoing.
"You could tell they were good pals."
While she mourns Tsue's death, she is also worried over her own son's impending deployment, his first in Iraq.
Two other members from Minkler and Tsue's EOD class have been killed in Iraq, she said.
"One was killed just two weeks before Dan," she said. "He had his hand blown off. It's not looking very good over there."
Tsue, meanwhile, was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant and awarded the Purple Heart medal. He was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, from Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Besides his father, Tsue's survivors include mother Deborah Takemoto, half brother Alex Takemoto, half sister Joy Takemoto and grandmother Marian Tsue.