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Air Force Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano

Died February 10, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

39, of Vallejo, Calif.; assigned to the 615th Air Mobility Operations Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; died Feb. 10 from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in Doha, Qatar.

Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano was following a family tradition when he enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school in 1983. "Mom wanted us to go to college," said Gerard Mariano, his older brother. "But we were pretty proud of our lineage." About 35 of Jude Mariano's relatives, including his two brothers and his father, have served in the military, in every U.S. conflict since World War II. The 39-year-old computer specialist from Vallejo, Calif., died Feb. 10, five days after being injured in a vehicle collision. He was assigned to Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "Jude was a very likable guy. If you met him, if you saw his smile, you'd really like him," Gerard Mariano said. Family members were preparing for Jude Mariano's return in April. "We were going to take him out, have a barbecue outside," said his father, Ben Mariano. "We were very close to each other." Survivors include his wife, Aniluz, and three children: Jaclyn, 13, A.J., 9, and Justin, 5.

— Associated Press

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