May 29
2004



Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, USMC

The Department of Defense announced on May 31 the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, 23, of Los Angeles, Calif., died May 29 due to hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Associated Press -- CAMP PENDLETON, California -- A decorated Marine killed in Iraq was on his second deployment in the country, the military said Monday. Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, 23, of Los Angeles, Calif., died Saturday because of hostile action in the Al Anbar Province. The nature of the hostile action was not being released, Lt. Nathan Braden said. Gonzalez joined the Marine Corps on Oct. 10, 2000. He received awards including the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. Gonzalez was an assaultman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Pendleton.

Pfc. Cody S. Calavan, USMC

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Pfc. Cody S. Calavan, 19, of Lake Stevens, Wash., died May 29 due to hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

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Como 4 News -- LAKE STEVENS, Washington -- A local family mourns after their son was killed in Iraq after a bomb hit their roadside convoy. It's the second tragedy for the family in less than a year. Nineteen-year-old Pfc. Cody Calavan joined the Marines right out of high school. Calavan was a machine gunner assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, Calif. He had always wanted to be a Marine. He believed strongly in the Iraq war, just like his father. "Will I miss my son greatly? (nods yes) Is it worth something? It's worth a great deal if we finish," said his father David Calavan. Calavan graduated from Lake Stevens High School, but his family moved to Stanwood two years ago. It's been really hard on our community to lose such a nice young man; a patriotic young man," said teacher Brent Barnes. The loss for Cody's dad is unspeakable. His only other son, 15-year-old Joey, was killed in a drinking-and-driving accident nine months ago. As sole-surviving son, Cody could have come home from the war. "But the direct answer was: ' I'm trained at what I do, these people are depending on me, so I'm going,' " said David Calavan. David also lost his wife to breast cancer six years ago and has since remarried. David and his wife Pamela, who says she loved being a stepmother to both boys, now say it's their faith that's keeping them going. "We know they're safe now," Pamela Calavan said. "We've just got to get past feeling really lonely and figure out what to do next." They still have two stepsons to raise together. They're planning a family memorial in Everett once Cody's body is returned to the United States.

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Times Snohomish County bureau -- EVERETT - The videotaped images of a life ended far too soon traced Cody Shea Calavan's progression from infant to manhood. There on the two large screens, before the hundreds gathered yesterday at New Life Center Foursquare Church, was an adolescent smeared with chocolate cake, a teen with his arm perched around a pretty girl and finally a Marine whose pride all but burst from his gleaming uniform. For a few moments, the memories and tributes to the 19-year-old Marine Corps private first class overshadowed his death May 29 in a bomb blast in Iraq. Friends, relatives and fellow Marines outlined the life of a loving brother, a loyal friend, a young man so steadfast in his beliefs that he had the Marine Corps motto Semper fidelis (always faithful) tattooed on his back. Jim Eylander, whose family lived next door to the Calavans in Lake Stevens, recalled Calavan and other neighborhood kids involved in never-ending Monopoly games, roller-blading on the Centennial Trail and swimming in the lake. He remembered the strapping Calavan as a "picture of fitness." His sister, Kalee Craig, recalled he was mischievous and kind-hearted at the same time. He routinely got his old pickup stuck in mud, forcing his father to come dig him out. Calavan also valued loyalty and service, she said, describing how on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico, one of his friends ended up in a hospital with no money. Calavan spent all of his own funds to pay the bill, leaving him without enough cash to get home. "He had a huge heart," she said. "I was the one who ended up in the hospital," said Levi Stringfellow as he took the stage. "He would do anything for me, and I would do anything for him." Stringfellow explained that it was too much drinking that put him in the Mexican hospital, and it was $800 from Calavan that got him out. But even the stories from happier times were muted by the knowledge that in his short life, Calavan had known more than his share of tragedy. His mother, Kathy Jean Calavan, whose smiling face radiated from the video screen, died of cancer when Calavan was 12. His younger brother, Joey Jay Calavan, was killed at 15 in a traffic accident near Stanwood nine months ago. For the Calavan family, the latest hurt has struck hard. "It's just that we miss him so darn much," said his stepmother, Pam Calavan. "Pray for us because we are really lonely." Marine Corps Sgt. Ronnie Ramos, who served in Iraq with Calavan, joked that he was constantly trying to cut the young man's hair. When he finally succeeded, "He didn't like it," Ramos said. Then he turned serious. "Calavan was a brilliant Marine," Ramos said. "He was one of those who knew what he wanted, and what he wanted was to be the best. He accomplished every task and never complained." KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES U.S. Marines prepare to fold a flag at the end of a memorial service for U.S. Marine Pfc. Cody Shea Calavan yesterday in Everett. The flag was presented to Calavan's father, David. Calavan was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. He died when a bomb exploded near the Humvee he was riding in near Al Anbar province in Iraq. At the end of the service, a Marine Corps color guard folded an American flag and presented it to Calavan's family. "I believe Cody found purpose in his life," said Pastor John Geiszler. "He made the most of it. Cody was a remarkable young man and left a legacy far beyond his years."

Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa, USMC

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa, 28, of Santa Ana, Calif., died May 29 from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.


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