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Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Lara

Died July 19, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of New Braunfels, Texas; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died July 19 in Ubaydi, Iraq, while supporting combat operations.

Was eager to join the Corps

The Associated Press

As his Canyon High School classmates donned caps and gowns, Brandon Lara was in his helmet and fatigues. He was so eager to become a Marine that he finished his studies a semester before his May 2006 graduation.

“He had long waited for his 18th birthday so he could join,” said his father, Jacob Lara Jr. “When his classmates were walking the stage, Brandon was serving his first tour.” And he volunteered for his second.

Brandon Lara, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, died July 19 in Iraq while supporting combat operations in Anbar province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and scheduled to be home in October, in time for his birthday.

“Ever since I can remember, he knew exactly what he wanted to do,” his stepmother, Gloria Lara, said. “He’s always wanted to be military. Since he was little, he was into guns and swords and knives.”

She said they communicated constantly on the MySpace social networking Web site. During their last phone conversation, she said, he told her he was thinking of home.

Brandon Lara also is survived by his mother, Shannon Martin; his brother, Jonathon; and his sisters, Victoria and Rebecca Lara and Stormi McCandless.

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