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Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa

Died March 27, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

33, of San Jose, Calif.; assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed March 27 in an ambush in Iraq.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa was a 14-year military veteran who loved the Marines and served “wholeheartedly,” said his wife, Stacy. He died in Iraq March 27 during an ambush. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a 3-year-old son, Joshua.

Menusa had been stationed in Japan, Cuba, Hawaii and the San Francisco area and had previously served in the Persian Gulf before leaving for the Middle East on Feb. 5, 2003.

He had intended to join the Air Force after graduating high school, but changed his mind, joined the Marines instead and later became a Marine recruiter. The Philippines-born Marine, who immigrated to the United States when he was 10, was posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship.

— Associated Press

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