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Marine Lance Cpl. James D. Argentine

Died August 6, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

22, of Farmingdale, N.Y.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii; died Aug. 6 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

3 Hawaii-based Marines killed in Farah province

By William Cole

The Honolulu Advertiser

The Pentagon said three Kaneohe Bay Marines were killed Aug. 6 in southern Afghanistan, a day after a Kaneohe Bay sailor also died in combat in the same region.

The Marines killed in Farah province were: Lance Cpl. James D. Argentine, 22, of Farmingdale, N.Y.; Lance Cpl. Travis T. Babine, 20, of San Antonio, Texas; and Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins, 24, of Paris, Texas.

Officials said the three were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle.

The Pentagon said the Marines died “while supporting combat operations.”

The three riflemen were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Kaneohe Bay.

About 1,000 Hawaii Marines with the 2nd Battalion arrived in Helmand and Farah provinces in late May, part of a surge of 21,000 additional U.S. troops ordered by President Obama into an increasingly restive Afghanistan.

The Marines are expected to be in the country seven months.

At least six members of the 2nd Battalion now have been killed in southern Afghanistan in about three months.

The Pentagon’s statement that the Marines and sailor died “while supporting combat operations” is more ambiguous than in the past and a Pentagon departure from years of standard practice in which the cause of death — whether a roadside bomb, gunshot, indirect fire attack or other means — was reported to the public.

Hoskins joined the Marines in August 2003 and reported to Hawaii in January. His awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, Navy Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

Argentine joined the Marines in October of 2006 and reported to Hawaii in January 2007. He previously deployed with the 2nd Battalion from January to August 2008.

His awards include the Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Babine joined the Marine Corps in June of 2007 and reported to Hawaii in August in 2008. His awards include a Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment ribbon.

The Pentagon also reported the death yesterday of Marine Cpl. Christian A. Guzman Rivera, 21, of Homestead, Fla., in Farah province. Guzman Rivera was assigned to the 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

Marine’s death spurs gift of music

By George Basler

The Binghamton (N.Y.) Press

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Michael Saarie knew James Argentine as an exuberant young man who loved to cook, write and play music.

Argentine, 22, also loved Saarie’s daughter, Crystal. The two met at the State University College at Oneonta, developed a friendship that grew into something more and were engaged to be married in July 2011.

But their story ended far too soon. On Aug. 6, 2009, Argentine — a lance corporal in the Marine Corps — was killed by a roadside bomb while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Farah province. He was one of three Marines fatally wounded in the operation.

Now, Saarie, a music teacher at West Middle School in Binghamton, has made a donation that, he hopes, will keep the memory of the young man alive.

Saarie has given a guitar, keyboard, music stand, headphones and instruction books to a special education class at West Middle. He also plans to donate 15 electric guitars that he’s collected over the years to the school’s music program. Ultimately, he plans to donate musical instruments to Argentine’s old high school, St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington.

The donation is not a political gesture for or against the war, but a personal one, Saarie said.

“It’s about James, his legacy and what he gave to this country. And it’s about allowing another generation of kids to plug in and be sensitized and creative,” he said.

Argentine, who grew up in Farmingdale, was motivated to join the Marines by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when nine of his friends lost relatives in the World Trade Center terrorist attack, Saarie said.

The young man was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Hawaii. He previously served a tour of duty in Iraq before beginning his service in Afghanistan in May 2009.

After his tour of duty was up, he planned to return to college, possibly to be a writer.

Saarie said he thought long and hard about making the donation and discussed it with his daughter ahead of time.

“I was touched when he told me,” Crystal Saarie said. “Music was a big part of James’s life and who he was.”

One inspiration for the donation was an event that Argentine told him took place during his service in Iraq, Michael Saarie said.

The story goes like this: One day, while on patrol, Argentine’s squad unexpectedly came upon an empty compound that was filled with recording equipment and musical instruments. The surprised Marines spent a couple of hours at the compound relaxing and playing music.

“They were able to jam for a couple of hours, and for a couple of hours the war wasn’t there,” Michael Saarie said.

In the same way, he hopes the musical instruments that he’s donating to West Middle will be “a compound” for some students and bring them a sense of relief when they are feeling the stress of middle school years, which can be a tough time for many adolescents.

“It’s a very generous gift,” said Tracy Miller, teacher in the special education classroom where the instruments now sit.

The students will be able to use them during recess and enrichment time. The students will have “an opportunity to express themselves through music,” she said.

When he made the donation, Michael Saarie had nameplates engraved with the word “James” attached to each instrument. He also created a special PowerPoint presentation about Argentine’s life that he showed to the students.

Miller said she has made a commitment to show it every year so the students know where the instruments came from, and why they were donated.

Argentine’s death is still difficult for his daughter, but “God bless her, she’s been able to move on,” Saarie said. She is an executive with Harry Winston Jewelers in New York, and in December was married to an Air Force flight instructor.

“It seems like yesterday, and it seems like so long ago,” Crystal said about Argentine’s death.

She added: “I think in the world we live in, young people need something to hold onto, especially in the middle school years that can be a tough time. If these instruments provide a safe haven, I know James would be happy.”

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