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Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins

Died August 8, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Crystal Lake, Ill.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed Aug. 8 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

One of the last images Jonathan W. Collins' parents have of their son is a picture of the Marine surrounded by laughing Iraqi children. "Here he has this huge smile, in the middle all this nonsense and death and heat," Jack Collins said. "I always looked at that picture as a moment of sanity in an insane situation. But he loved surrounding himself with people." The 19-year-old aspiring policeman from Crystal Lake, Ill., was killed by small arms fire Aug. 8 in Iraq's Anbar province. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif. The Marine's idealism was tested in Iraq. The death of a close friend in his unit earlier this year hit him particularly hard. "I think he began to realize there's some terrible people out there," Jack Collins said. It was only when his mother got off the phone that the Marine would tell his father about the dangers in Iraq. "He would say, 'Dad, we take mortar fire every day,'" Jack Collins said. "I'd always tell him, 'Keep your head down.' He would say 'Dad, I always do.'"

— Associated Press

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