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Army Spc. Jose A. Torre

Died January 15, 2011 Serving During Operation New Dawn

21, of Garden Grove, Calif.; assigned to Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Jan. 15 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Soldier was ‘turning his life around’

The Associated Press

Jose Torre’s high school Spanish teacher remembers a student who not too long ago struggled, “like most teens.”

But then he started to turn his life around and became focused as he matured during his junior and senior years, said Alicia Duncan, of Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, Calif.

His guidance counselor, whom he had visited at his former high school on recent trips home, said that after he graduated, she could see Torre had found a sense of fulfillment in serving his country.

“He came in a couple of times in his fatigues,” Amy Bowman told the Orange County Register. “He was very proud of serving. He told me he was very happy doing what he was doing. I got the sense that he belonged and was part of something bigger.”

Jose Torre Jr., 21, of Garden Grove, Calif., was killed in Baghdad in an attack on his unit. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

“He was a man at 15,” Duncan said shortly after his death. “Why does it always have to be the kid who is pulling his life back together?”

Torre graduated in 2007 from Pacifica, where he was on the varsity wrestling team.

Teachers described him as friendly and outgoing.

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