|From The San Diego Union-Tribune signonSanDiego.com
Fallen: Roberto Abad, Marine corporal
September 10, 2004
Age 22P> Marine Cpl. Roberto Abad of Bell Gardens was due to finish his four-year enlistment on Sept. 18.
But he will not complete his hitch. Nor will be get to marry his 19-year-old sweetheart, Tania Velazques.
Serving his second tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Abad was killed Aug. 6 in An Najaf province by enemy fire.
Abad was a mortarman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), based at Camp Pendleton.
"He was doing his job, and we are proud of him," said his father, also named Roberto. "He was serving his country."
"We just need to keep going on," said the father of six sons, Roberto being the oldest, and a 2-year-old daughter. "We have to continue on with our life and take care of the rest of our children."
Another of Abad's sons, Diego, 19, the next oldest, recently graduated from Marine boot camp and is based at Camp Pendleton.
"He wanted to serve, too," the father said. "We're just as proud of him, and hope that he will be OK."
Diego Abad was given leave to attend his older brother's funeral, which was held at St. Gertrude's Catholic Church in Bell Gardens on Aug. 13. The burial was the next day at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.
The city of Bell Gardens honored the fallen Marine with a ceremony and plaque at Veterans Park there, the father said.
Born at General Hospital in Los Angeles, Abad attended Garfield Elementary School and graduated from Bell Gardens High School. He joined the Marine Corps on Sept. 18, 2000.
His aunt, Patricia Abad, who lives in Ojai, recalled saying to her nephew, "You are my hero."
"And he told me, 'What are you talking about? I'm just doing my job.' "
"I'm doing this for my country," the fallen Marine said. "That's why we're over here. I'm proud of the job we're doing, and I'm proud to be a Marine."
– John Berhman