Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Christopher L Camero

Christopher L Camero

Kailua Kona, Hawaii

July 15, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
19 Marine L/Cpl

3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Twentynine Palms, California

 Died July 15 of wounds suffered July 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Christopher L Camero Christopher L Camero

From U-T San Diego utsandiego.com 07/19/11:

Twentynine Palms Marine killed in Afghanistan: Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero
Marine from Hawaii served with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines in Helmand
By Gretel C. Kovach3:27 P.M.JULY 19, 2011Updated1:31 P.M.JULY 20, 2011
A Twentynine Palms Marine was fatally wounded in action in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced today.

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, from the Big Island of Hawaii, died Friday of wounds suffered in combat with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. Camero had been injured July 6 in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The infantry battalion is stationed in the upper Gereshk valley, just south of Sangin. It will not be replaced after the battalion returns home this fall, Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez said recently, before relinquishing his post as the second-ranking U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines had replaced a battalion landing team temporarily assigned to the area while U.S. Marines moved into violent opium poppy-growing regions of northern Helmand.

In June, Taliban insurgents increased attacks against coalition forces in northern Helmand, in an apparent bid to regain lost territory.

Camero is the third Marine from the battalion killed since June, according to icasualties.org. The unit is a part of the 1st Marine Division headquartered at Camp Pendleton.

The infantryman came from a military family, and as a young boy he was always saluting, relatives told West Hawaii Today newspaper.

His aunt, Florida Ballio, said Camero emigrated from the Philippines at about age five and grew up in Waimea, where he enjoyed to cook, fish and play football, judo and wrestling. (The Defense Department had reported that Camero's hometown was Kailua-Kona.)

"He always goes fishing with his father whenever he gets time," Ballio told the Hawaii newspaper.

"I'm really trying to cope with it," she added, speaking of Camero as if he were alive: "he's a very, very good boy. Very active."

A friend who attended boot camp with Camero wrote on his web site: "His lifelong goal was to become a Marine, and his childhood dream came true. ... On July 6th, I heard you were hit bad by an IED (improvised explosive device,) and I prayed for you.

"I will never forget you or any of the stunts we pulled."

Camero was serving his first combat deployment since he enlisted in the Marine Corps, June 7, 2010, the 1st Marine Division announced.

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

From The Star Advertiser staradvertiser.com 07/19/11:

Marine, 19, from Kailua-Kona dies of Afghanistan combat wounds


By William Cole

POSTED: 01:22 p.m. HST, Jul 19, 2011 
LAST UPDATED: 06:26 p.m. HST, Jul 19, 2011
A 2010 Honokaa High graduate who looked forward to joining the Marine Corps and used physical fitness classes to help him get ready died Friday after being seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan on July 6, officials said.

Lance Cpl. Christopher L. Camero, 19, of Kailua-Kona, was conducting combat operations in Helmand province, the Pentagon said today.

Camero was an infantryman with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. He enlisted in the Corps on June 7, 2010, and was on his first combat deployment.

Military officials announced earlier this month that the unit would leave Afghanistan in November or December and not be replaced as part of the initial phase of a U.S. troop drawdown in the country.

Honokaa High and Intermediate School teacher Daphne Honma, who had Camero as a student his senior year, said the news came as a shock.

“You kind of have it in the back of your mind whenever any of your students go, but you just don’t expect to hear that,” she said.

Camero was a “very respectful kid. He was a good student, and he was always smiling. He had a good personality,” Honma said.

Honma teaches physical education, weight training and team sports, and Camero used the classes to help him prepare for basic training, she said. Camero also was on the wrestling team.

Becoming a Marine “was one of his goals when he came into class his senior year,” Honma said. “He had talked to a recruiter and he was really excited.”

“The Marines and sailors of the 1st Marine Division mourn the loss of Lance Cpl. Camero,” his higher command, based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., said in a release. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”

Camero’s family could not be reached for comment.

Friends posted the news of Camero’s death on the Internet, saying he had stepped on a homemade bomb while on a patrol, his legs had to be amputated, and that he had been on life support since being wounded.

“Chris passed away a few days ago, and in his honor we held an airsoft match in Kamuela, Hawaii, with a couple of his friends and anyone who wanted to participate,” one Internet poster said.

Camero chronicled his deployment to Afghanistan on his Facebook page, posting photos of himself on a plane as he headed to Germany, a stop in Kyrgyzstan, and arrival in Afghanistan on April 12.

His unit of about 1,000 Marines patrols Nahr-e-saraj district south of Sangin, where some of the heaviest recent fighting has occurred, and north of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

Camero complained about being stuck on post, and a “reality check! Just got shot at today! Not the best feeling a guy can get in the morning.”

In early June he asked if anybody was getting his mail, and said, “nobody misses me, nobody writes letters to me ... ”

On June 23 Camero wrote, “If I knew I had to write a report on what I shot at I wouldn’t have shot anything. At least I get me (sic) combat action ribbon.”

Honma, Camero’s high school teacher, said Camero was among those students who really want to join the military.

“That’s their goal. They really want (to be a part of the military). He really wanted to become a Marine,” Honma said. “He wanted to be part of the action and everything, so at least they are doing what they enjoy doing. At the same time, I always tell them that I’m honored and that I appreciate the fact that they are willing to go over there and sacrifice themselves for our country and our freedom.”

From Hawaii 24/7 hawaii247.com 08/18/11:

Big Island honors a fallen Marine back home
Posted on 11:37 am, Thursday, August 18, 2011
Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor
Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Camero was laid to rest Thursday at West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery.
Camero, 19, died July 15 in Germany from injuries he received July 6 while serving in Afghanistan.
He attended Waimea Middle School and graduated Honokaa High School in 2010. Immediately following graduation, Camero fulfilled a life-long dream and joined the U.S. Marine Corp.
In April, he was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif.
During his 13 months in the Marines, Camero was awarded include the Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Afghanistan Campaign Medal. He also received a posthumous Purple Heart.
Camero, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the Big Island as a young boy, is survived by parents Carlos and Norma; Sarrah Jane; and grandmothers, Lucia Labiano and Lapaz Camero.
From the memorial program:
You risked your life for others
Each and every day
Understanding and accepting the potential cost
That someday you might pay
For such is the path of a Hero
A terrain where only the brave would chose to go
For ’tis like a mountain pass, narrow and rugged
Far removed from the peaceful valley down below
Yet you walked that difficult path daily
Seeing harsh things, while doing such good
And we loved and respected your courage
More than you understood
And you were a blessing to countless people
Through you selfless and courageous deeds …

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