August 7, 2009
Isle-based Navy man dies in war zone

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

A Hawai'i-based sailor serving as a corpsman with Kane'ohe Bay Marines in southern Afghanistan died Wednesday in Farah Province, the Pentagon said.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony C. Garcia, 21, of Tyndall, Fla., died "while supporting combat operations," a Pentagon release said. Garcia was with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Navy corpsmen are assigned to Marine units and have jobs similar to those of an Army medic.

Garcia joined the Navy in July 2006 and reported to Hawai'i in February.

Garcia said on his MySpace page that he was married and was "most definitely the most happy person you have ever met and most positively the funniest."

He said he was born in Denver but grew up an Air Force "brat" and moved around a lot. He also said he joined the Navy right out of high school.

Garcia said his addictions were "working out ... being a beach bum and hittin' the waves up, always a sucker for beautiful women, family time is a must and on top of it all music is my life."

In a 2008 post, Garcia said he was attending the University of Maryland and after his three-year tour was up planned to go to medical school at the University of Miami.

His awards include the Purple Heart medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

About 1,000 Hawai'i Marines with the 2nd Battalion arrived in Helmand and Farah provinces in late May, part of a surge of 21,000 additional U.S. troops ordered by President Obama into an increasingly restive Afghanistan.

The Marines are expected to be in the country seven months.

The Marines have engaged in skirmishes with anti-American forces in the poppy fields, orchards and walled compounds of Helmand province, and fallen victim to the increasing use of roadside bombs.

At least two other Hawai'i Marines with the 2nd Battalion have been killed on the deployment.

Cpl. Matthew Lembke, 22, was on his first combat tour to Afghanistan after deploying twice before to Iraq.

The Tualatin, Ore., man suffered internal injuries and lost both legs in a June 22 roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan. He died July 10 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Whittle, 20, of Downey, Calif., died June 6 when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province.