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Marine Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras

Died June 21, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


27, of Harris, Texas; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed June 21 by hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.

Texas Marine killed in Iraq

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A 27-year-old Marine from the Houston area was killed by hostile fire in Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras, who was from Harris County, died Monday in an attack in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 60 miles west of Baghdad, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. Officials did not say if Contreras was among the four U.S. Marines gunned down Monday by insurgents there.

Contreras was a rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Contreras joined the Marine Corps on May 7, 2001, and earned several honors, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

The attack is under investigation.


Mourners recall fallen Marine’s devotion, service

HOUSTON — Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras, who had hoped to return from Iraq by September, was remembered by mourners as a dedicated Marine and a devoted son.

Hundreds gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Tuesday for services in honor of Contreras, 27, of Jacinto City. He died June 21 from wounds suffered in hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.

“We are going to miss him so much,” childhood friend Eli Aguilar told the Houston Chronicle after the service. “He was the light of the house. He cheered everyone up.”

Marines in dress-blue uniforms carried the fallen man’s coffin, draped with an American flag, into the church as relatives and friends watched silently.

“Pedro felt the call to serve,” said the Rev. Timothy Gray of Our Lady of Guadalupe, adding Contreras took his first Communion at the church and that he had volunteered as an altar server. “Not just his family or his neighborhood, but the entire nation.”

The Galena Park High School graduate was the 17th Houston-area soldier to be killed in the Iraq war. He was sent to Iraq in March.

After Communion for family members, one church member read a letter Contreras had written before he left for Iraq. The letter, written in Spanish and sent to his family, expressed Contreras’ gratitude to his parents for raising him.

Contreras wrote that if he returned from Iraq, they should thank God, but if he never came home, he said not to be sad because he would be in a better place.

He joined the Marine Corps on May 7, 2001, and was a rifleman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Contreras earned several honors in his military career, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, according to the Defense Department. Contreras’ mother was presented with his Purple Heart at Tuesday’s service.

— Associated Press

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