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Marine Cpl. Jesus A. Gonzalez

Died April 12, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Indio, Calif.; assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; killed April 12 while manning a checkpoint in Baghdad.

Jesus Gonzalez, 22, had the flag of Mexico — the country of his birth — tattooed on his body. But he had always wanted to be in the U.S. military. The Marine, who grew up in the Southern California city of Indio, was killed in Iraq April 12. He was assigned to a tank battalion and died manning a checkpoint in Baghdad.

His family members have not decided whether they will ask for posthumous citizenship.

Gonzalez, who was married and had a 2-year-old daughter, is remembered as a respectful, outgoing young man who wanted the adventure and education he could get from joining the military. “He wanted to be in the Marines to get ahead in life, to improve his life and gain experience,” said his step-grandfather, Leopoldo G. Trevino.

“He was patriotic, both as a Mexican and for the country where he lived,” Trevino said. “Even as a youngster, he would talk about going into the military.”

Gonzalez graduated from Indio High School and attended the College of the Desert in nearby Palm Desert.

— USA Today, Associated Press

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