Pfc. Jay Cajimat, who died in Baghdad on Friday, was from Lahaina. CLICK FOR LARGE
Maui soldier was shy, driven
When Army Pfc. Jay Cajimat was on the mainland for basic training, he asked his family to send him his favorite foods: Maui onion chips, li hing mui and macadamia nuts.
His mother wanted to send him one of his favorite dishes -- chicken adobo -- but she never had the chance to.
Cajimat, 20, who was born in Manila but grew up in Lahaina, died Friday in Baghdad when a car bomb exploded near his unit. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, of Fort Riley, Kan.
Another soldier with Hawaii ties also recently died in Iraq. Sgt. Forrest Cauthorn, 22, of Midlothian, Va., died Thursday during combat operations in Hawijah. Cauthorn was stationed at Schofield Barracks with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. He is the 16th Schofield soldier to die in Iraq since last summer.
Cajimat joined the Army right after graduating from Lahainaluna High School in 2005. His mother, Lilibeth Cajimat, said it was something he always wanted to do after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was deployed to Iraq in February.
His family described him as a shy person who loved the outdoors and surrounded himself with friends.
"He wasn't much of a talker when he didn't know you," his 18-year-old sister, Kaya, said, "but when it comes to his friends, he was so loud. He couldn't stop talking."
Kaya and her brother liked to watch movies together at home, usually whatever he wanted to see, which was action movies. Being only two years apart in age, she remembers going to church together and playing freeze tag when they were younger. Jay Cajimat was the oldest and had three younger sisters.
Lilibeth Cajimat said that after the Army, her son had planned to return home and enroll in college to become a mechanical engineer.
She could tell in his recent e-mails that he was not enjoying Iraq, but he never wanted his family to worry about him, she said. "He was always a very loving son, kind and supportive to us," she said.
Besides his mother and sisters, Cajimat is survived by his father, two grandmothers, a grandfather and several uncles and aunts. Funeral services are pending.