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Army Pfc. David T. Toomalatai

Died January 27, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


19, of Long Beach, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Jan. 27 of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during convoy operations in Taji, Iraq. Also killed were Army Pfc. Jon B. St. John II and Army Cpl. Timothy A. Swanson.

Teen medic killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. — Teen soldier David Toomalatai joined the Army to provide a future for his girlfriend and then-unborn son. Less than three months after arriving in Iraq, the medic was killed by a roadside bomb.

Toomalatai, 19, decided he needed a full-time job and tuition to eventually go to college to become a physician’s assistant, said Daniela Perera, the mother of his 10-month-old son Damien.

The Army private wasn’t troubled about going off to war.

“He wasn’t worried,” Perera said. “I kept telling him, ‘Don’t go.’ He said, ‘It’s going to be good in the long run. When I come back, it will be all good. I’m going to school.’ ”

When he’s old enough to understand them, Damien Toomalatai will watch football highlight films from his father’s days at Banning High School in Wilmington.

“I have lots of pictures,” the 18-year-old mother said Tuesday. “He’s going to know him. There’s a lot of people to talk to him about his dad.”

Toomalatai died in Iraq on Jan. 26 when an ambulance he was riding in rolled over a land mine as he picked up injured soldiers, friends and family said.

“It’s so weird when somebody that you’re used to seeing, and talking to, isn’t there any more,” said his 18-year-old sister, Savali Toomalatai, who spoke to him the day before he died.

“It sounded like he was very concerned and very scared. But at the same time, he held up to his part. He went to it full-on. He really believed he was protecting the United States and protecting his family,” his sister said.

His high school science teacher Mary Bane said the Army was a way for Toomalatai “to access all of his dreams.”

Bane said Toomalatai viewed the military as “a great opportunity with the college money and the family support.”


Medic killed in Iraq was the father of an infant boy

The Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. — Teen soldier David Toomalatai joined the Army to provide a future for his girlfriend and then-unborn son. Less than three months after arriving in Iraq, the medic was killed by a roadside bomb.

Toomalatai, 19, decided he needed a full-time job and tuition to eventually go to college to become a physician’s assistant, said Daniela Perera, the mother of his 10-month-old son, Damien.

The Army private wasn’t troubled about going off to war.

“He wasn’t worried,” Perera said. “I kept telling him, ‘Don’t go.’ He said, ‘It’s going to be good in the long run. When I come back, it will be all good. I’m going to school.’”

When he’s old enough to understand them, Damien Toomalatai will watch his father’s football highlight films from his days at Banning High School in Wilmington.

“I have lots of pictures,” the 18-year-old mother said Tuesday. “He’s going to know him. There’s a lot of people to talk to him about his dad.”

Toomalatai died in Iraq on Jan. 26 when an ambulance he was riding in rolled over a land mine as he picked up injured soldiers, friends and family said.

“It’s so weird when somebody that you’re used to seeing, and talking to, isn’t there any more,” said his 18-year-old sister, Savali Toomalatai, who spoke to him the day before he died.

“It sounded like he was very concerned and very scared. But at the same time, he held up to his part. He went to it full on. He really believed he was protecting the United States and protecting his family,” his sister said.

His high school science teacher Mary Bane said the Army was a way for Toomalatai “to access all of his dreams.”

Bane said Toomalatai viewed the military as “a great opportunity with the college money and the family support.”

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