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Marine Pfc. Francisco Martinez Flores

Died March 25, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Los Angeles; assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; killed in action while conducting convoy operations near the Euphrates River, Iraq.

Marine Pfc. Francisco Martinez Flores, who had moved to California from Mexico at age 3, was to become a U.S. citizen in two weeks. But the 21-year-old Marine was killed before he could take an oath of allegiance to the country for which he died fighting. His tank fell into the Euphrates River when the bridge it was crossing collapsed March 25.

The eldest of four children, Martinez joined the Marines to pursue his goal of going to college, said his mother, Martha. He wanted to become a stock broker or detective.

“He had many dreams, many aspirations, and they ended. It’s not fair,” she said.

— Associated Press

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2002   2001

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