- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Pfc. Ming Sun
Died January 9, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
20, of Cathedral City, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Jan. 9 in Ramadi, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire during combat patrol operations.
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California solider awarded posthumous citizenship
The Associated Press
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. — Ming Sun wanted to be a soldier and an American.
The Chinese immigrant got both wishes. But one came after his death in Iraq.
At his funeral Jan. 22, his parents received his Purple Heart, Bronze Star and certificate of U.S. citizenship.
“For what Ming did, we can never repay him,” Cathedral City mayor Kathy DeRosa said. “This will always be Ming’s home.”
Sun, a 20-year-old Army private first class, was killed Jan. 9 by enemy fire in Ramadi, Iraq.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.
Sun was buried at Riverside National Cemetery.
Ming came to the United States with his parents when he was 8. Acquaintances said he wanted to become a soldier, especially after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“He tried to convince me to go to the Army,” a friend, Kenny Wu, told the Desert Sun of Palm Springs. “We used to swim and play video games. I’m sad now because we can’t hang around anymore.”
Sun graduated from high school in 2004 and started college. He enlisted early last year as a rifleman so he could be guaranteed a trip to the front lines in Iraq.
His father, Hong-Yuan Sun, told The Gazette newspaper in Colorado earlier this month that Sun had told him he was happy in Iraq, planned to re-enlist when his three years were up and hoped to eventually become a general.
Sun’s squad mates have “lost a brother,” Sgt. Robert Griffith said Monday.
“It was an honor to know a great soldier. He was one of the best,” he said. “Anyone who knew him won’t forget his smile. He was very proud of everything he did.”
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Last-minute memorial held for soldier
RaNeeka J. Claxton
The Desert Sun
A last-minute memorial was held this morning for fallen soldier and former 2004 Cathedral City High School graduate Ming Sun. The event took place in front of the school's main entrance and flagpoles.
Sun, 20, who was formerly stationed in Fort Carson, Colo., died Jan. 9 in Ramadi, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using a rifle or pistol during combat patrol operations.
About 75 people - including the Sun family, Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa, Cathedral City High School principal Guillermo Chavez, ROTC cadets and members from the local Patriot Guard Riders whose mission is respect for all fallen servicemen - were in attendance.
A 30-second moment of silence was followed by the singing of the National Anthem over the school's loud speaker.
Ming Sun was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Sun's father, David Sun, urged "Mr. Bush to stop sending kids with only two months in the Army, and no experience, to Iraq on the front line. They are not ready," he said.
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Cathedral City High graduate dies in Iraq
RaNeeka J. Claxton
The Desert Sun
The anguished family of a 2004 Cathedral City High School graduate tearfully tried Thursday to deal with their son's death in Iraq.
Ming Sun, 20, a soldier and 2004 graduate of Cathedral City High School, was killed Tuesday in Ramadi, Iraq, of wounds from an enemy rifle or pistol, the Department of Defense announced Thursday. He was on combat patrol.
“My son was a nice guy, brave, a hero. We loved him so much, and we will miss him,” his father, David Sun, said at the family's home. “It seems like every day, there's a loss of kids 19 or 20 years old.”
The death announcement came a day after President Bush said he was increasing U.S. troops by 21,500 to quell Iraq's near-anarchy.
"I want the war finished as soon as possible," David Sun said. "America's job is done. I hope the Bush administration keeps the U.S. soldiers safe, and don't hurt any more families."
Ming Sun is the second U.S. serviceman from the valley killed on duty in Iraq.
Jesus Angel Gonzalez, a Marine from Indio, died April 12, 2003. He was 22.
Sun was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
He entered the Army on March 23 and joined the 2nd Brigade Combat Team Aug. 13. He received the National Defense Service Medal.
“Pfc. Sun showed extraordinary courage in serving his fellow Americans at home and abroad,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stated Thursday in a press release. “Maria and I send our condolences to Ming's family and pray for their comfort during this difficult time. His courageous example will live on in our hearts."
In honor of Sun, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
Sun's family owns the Palms Buffet in the Palm Springs Mall.
“He had a lot of pride. He never admitted when he felt weak,” said high school friend Gilbert Napenas, 17. “We met when I was a freshman. He introduced me to all of my friends here (at the high school). He liked to play video games,” Napenas said.
The last time Napenas spoke with him, Sun was just finishing his Army training.
“He told me how hard training was, how he could never slouch, and always had to stand up straight,” Napenas said. “He was so excited and looking forward to going to Iraq.”
Stephanie Cancel, 17, of Cathedral City said Sun was always laughing and polite, and would brighten her day.
“I remember when he got his first car, a white Lancer Evolution. He came to school bragging,” she said.
Sun was a part of a group of four guys who all had white cars, called the “J-Spec” group, she said.
According to the Department of Defense, there have been 3,010 U.S. deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom.