Roadside bomb kills Kaneohe Marine
Lance Cpl. Anthony Aguirre always wanted to be a Marine, shipping out from Kaneohe Bay on Sept. 11, the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Aguirre, 20, of Channelview, Texas, was killed Monday by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol in Iraq's Al Anbar province, the Defense Department announced yesterday.
He became the 23rd member of Kaneohe's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment to die in Iraq since the deployment began in August.
His father, Arturo Aguirre, told the Brownsville (Texas) Herald that his son always wanted to be a Marine.
About six months ago, he called home for the last time, said his cousin Hilda Trevino. "He said the fighting was terrible," she said. "He wanted to get out."
"He was always a happy kid, very easy-going, respectable -- the type of child anyone would want to have as a son," she said.
Christina Castillo, his sister, told the Houston Chronicle yesterday that Aguirre, who would have turned 21 in less than a month, loved Spanish music, read voraciously and had a strong spiritual side.
He had participated in military training programs since elementary school, was active in JROTC and joined the Marines about a year after graduating from Channelview High School in 2004.
"He always wanted to join," his sister told the newspaper. "It was never a question."
Even when he went home on leave Aguirre would wear his uniform, his sister said.
"We would tease him and tell him, 'You're a civilian now, Anthony,' " she said. "You can take off your uniform."
"He was a great person," she added. "A proud Marine and he loved his family."
Castillo said she spoke to her brother for the last time in mid-February. He called to tell her he was returning home on April 15. He also recently became engaged to another Marine.
Since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, 49 soldiers, three sailors, 79 Marines, one Air Force personnel and one civilian with Hawaii ties have been killed there.
Kaneohe's 2nd Battalion also deployed to Afghanistan in 2005. Four members of the unit were killed there.