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Army Sgt. Atanacio Haro Marin

Died June 3, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

27, of Baldwin Park, Calif.; assigned to Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; killed by enemy south of Balad, Iraq, June 3.

Marin was manning a checkpoint when his unit came under enemy fire from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

Baldwin Park soldier died from enemy fire in Iraq

Associated Press

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. — An Army sergeant ambushed and killed this week in Iraq was remembered by his family as a proud and courageous soldier who was living out a long-held dream of serving in the U.S. military.

Atanasio Haro Marin Jr. — whose name was spelled Atanacio Haromarin in a military announcement — died June 3 when his checkpoint was attacked with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

“It takes a lot of courage to serve,” said Ismael Haro Marin, his older brother. “We are all going to miss him, we are missing him already. We wish it was a dream. We are trying to wake up to reality. There is so much pain.”

Marin, 27, known as “Nacho” to his family, was born in Momax, Mexico, and lived there with his mother while his father, Atanasio, worked in California picking fruit and doing construction jobs to support seven children.

The family reunited in Los Angeles when he was 2, later moving to suburban Baldwin Park east of the city.

He competed on the Sierra Vista High School track team and also ran in a Los Angeles Marathon.

Upon graduation, he joined the National Guard over the objections of his parents, the family told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. When his tour of duty ended, he transferred to the Army, and was making the military a career.

“I want to run from here and go to wherever he is at,” his distraught mother, Catalina, told KMEX-TV. “I want to see him even if he is dead, I want to kiss him.”

Marin was assigned to Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas.

He last saw his family during a January leave, two months before he left for the Middle East.

He managed to call home twice in April and had sent a Mother’s Day card that read: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

“He was never unhappy,” said his sister-in-law, Aracely Haro Marin. “He would say, ‘Don’t worry about it, there will be better times.’ ”

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