PDA

View Full Version : The Story of One Fallen Marine and His Family



thedrifter
09-14-05, 05:17 PM
The Story of One Fallen Marine and His Family
Story by Margaret Molloy, Mirror staff

Marine Lance Corporal Luis Alberto Figueroa, 21, of Los Angeles, was killed in the battle of Falluja in Iraq on November 18, 2004, while he was conducting a house-to-house search for insurgents.

He was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously, but the medal offers scant consolation to his family. His father Berto, mother Martha, brother Julio, 20, and sister Maria, 13, spend their Sundays at Arlington West, a memorial for America troops killed in Iraq that is re-created weekly by Veterans for Peace on the beach by Santa Monica Pier, and the Normandie Avenue cemetery where he is buried.

His mother said she told Luis one hundred times not to join the Marines. She urged him to take a job at McDonalds, or anything but the Marines. It was too dangerous, she said. She said she didn’t need a hero, just her son to stay home with her.

But he was determined to join the Marines. He went back to school to get his GED and lost 30 pounds in order to qualify for the Corps.

His boot camp experience at Camp Pendleton was brutal. He told his family many stories of endurance, suffering, and humiliation. At one point, a senior officer struck him, scarring his cheek. A fellow recruit committed suicide by shooting himself in the face.

According to his family, the Corps told Luis not talk about these experiences with civilians, but he told his family, because they talked about every thing, and he advised his best friend not to enlist.

His mother remembers walking to McDonalds with him for breakfast one morning. They took a shortcut through the cemetery on Normandie and Luis said he wanted to be buried there, in this cemetery, on the street he had lived on all his life.

He did not want to go to Iraq and considered his options. Being a fugitive would be no life for him and being a felon would limit his future employment opportunities, so, when he got his orders, he went to Iraq.

Marines in Iraq were not adequately provided with such basic supplies as toilet paper, razors, baby wipes, socks and underwear, and he had to buy his own uniform, boots, and bulletproof vest. He called his family every few weeks for supplies. The heat (140 degrees) and dust made him ill, his gun didn’t always work, the bulletproof vests were no good.

When he was killed, his Marten paychecks stopped, in spite of President Bush’s recent promise that families of the dead would be taken care of. Thus far, all the Figueroas have been offered is grief counseling with a Mexican therapist in East Los Angeles who doesn’t speak Spanish.

When recruiters approached the Figueroas’ younger son, Julio, who is taking classes at East Los Angeles College, he told them, “One son is enough for any family to sacrifice.”

Luis’s parents want the war to be over. They don’t want any more young men and women to be sent to Iraq to die. They wish that the recruiters and the ROTC would stop making false promises to the children of the poor. They consider the war a “business interest” of this government.

Luis’ company was deployed for a second tour in Iraq on Sunday, August 28.
Luis’s father said, “We love the U.S. Marines, but we all have a responsibility to stop sending young people to Iraq. It is too late for my son, but we can help others.”

Ellie

yellowwing
09-14-05, 05:31 PM
When he was killed, his Marten paychecks stopped, in spite of President Bush’s recent promise that families of the dead would be taken care of. Thus far, all the Figueroas have been offered is grief counseling with a Mexican therapist in East Los Angeles who doesn’t speak Spanish.
Someone better clue these grieving parents on to SGLI before some snake oil lawyer "helps them" to only 2/3 of the benefits.

outlaw3179
09-14-05, 05:37 PM
Im not one to talk about the dead. I think it is disrespectful . But, It kind of sounds to me like the family is not getting all the information or maybe the information they were getting was a little "exaggerated". It is tragic that this Marine died and in no way do I want to sound like I dont care. But this Marine did sign the motherfukin contract. I dont believe everything the family is saying. Unfortunately there are people in the United States right now who will use a story like this to show young people that if they serve in the military , they will only be lied to and will be mistreated.
To me , dying for my country , dying wearing an eagle , globe and anchor over my heart , is more honorable than working at McDonalds. Maybe Im just crazy or maybe Im just a Marine who has love for his country . Either way If asked to , Ill go again.

yellowwing
09-14-05, 06:39 PM
I dont believe everything the family is saying.
Just talked to the Camp Pendleton PAO. The policy is that any SGLI payments are confidential. Our Corps cannot release that information, or rebutt news stories that leave out the family's benefits.

However if the reporter (in this case a photographer (http://www.smmirror.com/MainPages/StaffMain.asp)) requests information or news interviews and PAO determines that they have not fairly and accurately portrayed Our Corps' reputation, the reporter will not recieve cooperation.

Our Brother did fall on Nov 18, 2004. Here is the DOD release (http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2004/nr20041119-1581.html).

Semper Fi LCpl. Luis A. Figueroa

dydx
09-16-05, 08:24 PM
Always sad when a fellow brother falls.

But that is the price all Marines are willing to pay when they enlist in our all volunteer military.

Nothing I can say will ever give comfort to the family of LCpl Figueroa, but his spirit will be moarned by every Marine, his spirit will not be forgotten.

Joseph P Carey
09-16-05, 11:05 PM
Nothing new, and surely not something to write home about. Least wise, that is the way I look at it. The family says he wrote them, quote, "Marines in Iraq were not adequately provided with such basic supplies as toilet paper, razors, baby wipes, socks and underwear, and he had to buy his own uniform, boots, and bulletproof vest. He called his family every few weeks for supplies. The heat (140 degrees) and dust made him ill, his gun didn’t always work, the bulletproof vests were no good."

Damn, do I know about this, but we used to laugh at it, because we were doing our job, and that was just part of the job. No Skivvies, tough crap, we didn't need them! TP? We got that with C-rations. Baby wipes? What the Fk is that??? Buy new uniforms? Why? If supply is out, you go without! Called his family every couple of weeks? Give me a break!!!

Anyone that was in the Grunts in Vietnam must be laughing themselves right off their chairs, and the Korean Guys and the WWII guys are probably just about to hit code blue with their blood pressure at such petty complaints with all that they faced, and they are shaking their heads wondering what has become of the Marines they knew. Baby wipes, God damn!

I am sorry the guy died. I am always sorry when another Marine dies, but lets face it, there were times when a guy was gone from the outfits and we all breathed a little easier about it. Not all that make it to be Marines should be Marines. The guy sounds like a story teller and a complainer. A hero in his own mind!

Again, Sorry the guy is dead! But, Gee wizz!

themom
09-16-05, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by thedrifter


When recruiters approached the Figueroas’ younger son, Julio, who is taking classes at East Los Angeles College, he told them, “One son is enough for any family to sacrifice.”

Ellie

Maybe my thinking is skewed, but did the family sacrifice their son, or was it his sacrifice to make? I always have to hesitate a bit when I read a line like that. Aren't our servicemembers all adults?

hrscowboy
09-16-05, 11:42 PM
You know cpl carey i have heard that very same thing that the Marines of Today have to buy there own uniforms now. I dont know if thats true or not all i know if we needed jungles in nam we went to supply and got them i dont remember having to buy them. if you recall we had the old flak jackets not bullet proof vests and 2 pair of boots where issued to you right out of bootcamp if i recall right. and when we got to okinawa we were issued our cammies and jungle boots. but then at that time i was only making 121.00 every 2 weeks. I dont know what to think of that when i hear that kind of story about having to buy your uniforms now and i have heard that from several now..

Joseph P Carey
09-17-05, 01:23 AM
HRS, when I went into Vietnam, November 65, we were wearing the old Dark Green Utilities from the states. I was still wearing them in July of 66. We had the Leather Boots that were issued states side. The straps for our gun belts were the old 1-inch web straps with the double hooks. The flack jackets were a joke, and a bad joke at that. Half the plates were missing, and eventually, we were walking around with nothing more than a vest on.

The unit arrived in July 65, and jungle boots did not start arriving until March 66. They were not even new boots, they were used boots, but our boots had fallen off our feet and were only held there with the grace of the Corpsman's surgical tape. We found blood and mud on the boots, and we thought they were boots of dead or wounded Soldiers that the Marines had bought up at a discount price from the Army.

We lived under shelter halves that could not hold out the rain, or under our poncho that was dotted with holes from every shrub in Vietnam that was designed to tear us a new butt hole. We looked worst equipped than the NVA, but we beat them in each fight.


We knew that being a Marine meant that we did not get the best of equipment, just that we had the best fighter no matter what we were armed with or dressed like. The old joke was that the Marines turned back a quarter of their allotment to the Pentagon each year, because they didn't need anything more than the men in the uniforms.

We did complain among ourselves, but that was as far as it got. According to what I wrote to my parents, it was nothing more than a boy scout camp out. I did not wish to worry them any more than they needed to be worried. According to my letters, I was in the safest areas in Vietnam.

But, never did we have to buy a piece of equipment; there was none to buy. We lived with what we had, and we were glad to have that. I think the problem in Iraq is that the Marines are so close to the Army, and there is always one Soldier or another that is willing to sell their buddy's equipment to the Marines for a profit, and those that are willing to buy stolen goods from another US Serviceman buy it! I think it is nothing more than penis envy on their part. I guess it is a lot like the Jungle Boots we got, we knew someone owned them once before, but we didn't give a damn.

hrscowboy
09-17-05, 02:04 AM
We wore the old dark green utes until we got to oki in 1969 on our way to nam and they issued us the cammies and the jungle boots and the dreaded camma goblin shot, and yes that damn flak jacket wasnt worth a plug nickel for anything half the panels where gone as you said. and i remember times that damn m-16 jammed alot had to clean that damn thing 2 or 3 times a day. and them 1943 C- rats werent that bad i dont recall.. but i will have to check with my 1 son that just got out of our beloved Marine Corps and find out if in fact this true or not... surely i would think there are some Marines here that could fill out us old salts on this item of having to buy there own uniforms and such...