MARINES HONOR FALLEN
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Marine Sgts. Christopher Piazza, left, and Terence D'Alesandro, right, of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., were escorted by Staff Sgt. Ronald Pennell of the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company from Kaneohe, middle, after standing at attention at the casket of Pvt. Lewis Calapini yesterday during memorial services at Borthwick Mortuary in Honolulu. Piazza and D'Alesandro escorted Calapini's body from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to Honolulu.
Family mourns son who died in Iraq
Services are held in Honolulu for a Marine killed in a crash
On Dec. 23, Marine Pvt. Lewis Calapini called his father to wish him a merry Christmas and check up on his puppy, which he had left in his mother's care. After he sent his love, he told his father in Tagalog, "OK, Daddy, I have to go to work."
It was the last time Orencio Calapini would speak to his son.
The 21-year-old, who graduated from the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy, was killed exactly a month later when his vehicle crashed about 45 miles west of Baghdad.
Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Scott of Tunnel Hill, Ga., also died in the accident, according to the Associated Press.
During services for Calapini last night at Borthwick Mortuary's Maunakea Chapel, his father said "he realized something" after that final phone call from his son: "The boy had turned into a man."
More than 150 friends and family members attended the services for Calapini. His brigade's chaplain delivered the eulogy, reading Scripture and offering words of support to the family.
Calapini attended Waipahu High School during his freshman and sophomore years. He enrolled in the youth challenge academy after going through a rough time in his life, and later decided to join the Marines.
Calapini twice served in Iraq after signing up in May 2004. Last March, he started a three-month deployment.
He was sent back a second time in October with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force's Anti-Terrorism Battalion, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Calapini has an older brother, his only sibling.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Congressman Ed Case hugged Helen Calapini, mother of Marine Pvt. Lewis Calapini, yesterday prior to memorial services at Borthwick Mortuary downtown. Calapini's father, Orencio, stood in the background.
Before services yesterday, Marvin Calapini stood in front of his brother's open casket, looking down at Lewis Calapini's face as other family members gathered around him.
The two brothers were featured in countless photos, taken in happier times, that were displayed outside the chapel yesterday.
In one the Calapini brothers are shown tending to their grandfather's grave. In another they are romping in the surf together. As they got older, they were pictured with cars or with friends, goofing off for the camera or showing off big smiles.
Also displayed were the Marine's last letters to his family. Right after he finished boot camp, the Marine wrote his parents to ask for a Bible. In a letter to his uncle, he reminded his parents to send him a pair of new sneakers -- "just like the ones Marvin got!"
During his short career in the Marines, Calapini garnered several awards, including the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Posthumously, he was awarded the Marine Achievement Medal.
In his speech last night, Calapini's father said he believed his son's "mission was accomplished."
"Yes," he said, "his work is done. Please give us time to recover from all this sorrow that we are suffering from."
A second service will be held today for Calapini at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Chapel, starting at 11 a.m. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Calapini will be buried at 1 p.m. today in the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery.
Calapini is survived by parents Orencio and Helen Grace, brother Marvin, grandmother Filipinas Basug and aunts, uncles and cousins.