|From The Orange County Register ocregister.com
Mourners recall fallen Marine's courage
By JESSICA TERRELL
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
YORBA LINDA — Cpl. Claudio Patiño IV was known to friends as a brave Marine, a fighter to the end.
To his family though, the Marine was Nene, a young man who had a subtler kind of courage: The ability to be brave in love.
In an emotional eulogy on Friday, his uncle, Guillermo Patiño, told some 400 mourners at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that Nene fearlessly showed his love for aunts, uncles and cousins.
"He was Nene the humble, Nene the veteran, Nene the husband, Nene the son, and on June 22 in Helmand Province, he became Nene the hero, sacrificing his own life," Guillermo Patiño said, his voice choking as he spoke of his nephew.
The tough and gentle qualities of Patiño – who was killed by small arms fire in combat in Afghanistan – were celebrated during services in Yorba Linda before his burial at Riverside National Cemetery.
Patiño joined the Marines shortly after graduating from El Dorado High School in 2006. He was a scout sniper, who had transferred units just a few months after returning from Afghanistan in 2009 in order to redeploy this March. He was the 53rd service member from Orange County killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.
Family friend Raul Carrillo read during the service an email from his son Ryon, serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
"If there was one thing everyone knew about Claudio, it was the fact that he was a fighter, so it would make sense that he would leave this world fighting," Ryon wrote.
The Mormon church on Bastanchury Road began filling up shortly before the morning service began. As mourners came in, an organist played "My Country Tis of Thee."
Patiño's flag-covered casket had been brought into the church and placed at the front. Two Marines stood guard, one at each side of the casket. On one side was a photo of Patiño in his Marine uniform, on the other a photo of him standing in front of his red sports car.
The 22-year-old Yorba Linda native is from a large, close-knit family, and leaves behind seven brothers and sisters.
Everyone at the service had been touched in some way by Patiño, Raul Carrillo said, and that made everyone in attendance family. He urged them to hug, shake hands, and share how they knew Patiño.
By the time the motorcade prepared to leave the church, hundreds of community members had gathered along the way, on each block the hearse was to pass, including sizable groups at El Dorado High, at Yorba Linda Community Center and Yorba Linda Middle School.
Some carried signs thanking Patiño for his service, while others carried U.S. flags.
Patiño was the third Yorba Linda Marine to be killed in Afghanistan this year. Sgt. Major Robert Cottle and Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni were killed by an improvised explosive device on March 24.
"We have certainly as a community paid a great price toward protecting our freedom," Yorba Linda Mayor John Anderson said.
The funeral service follows a week of remembrances. About 500 people attended memorial at El Dorado High School on Monday, viewing a slide show of his life and sharing memories.
On Wednesday, family members met the casket bearing the body of Patiño during a solemn moment at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
Dozens of people throughout the day on Thursday paid their respects at a viewing at Hilgenfeld Mortuary in Anaheim as Marines stood guard at a flag-draped casket.
Everything during the week, from his return to a solemn open-casket viewing in Anaheim, was open to the public.
At the cemetery, hundreds gathered around the interment shelter, the sound of weeping could be heard while taps played softly and shots from a 21-gun salute pierced the air.
Marines solemnly lifted the flag from Patiño's casket and folded it, presenting it – and two other flags – to Patiño's parents and wife, Jamie Burns.
After the crowd of mourners was dismissed, Marines lifted the silver casket and marched off, leading his family away to bury their Nene, but not their memories of him.
"Te recordaré toda mi vida, como un buen hijo y un buen Marine. Tu Papa," wrote Patiño's father, in a program prepared for the funeral service. That means:
"I'll remember you all my life, as a good son and a good Marine."
(Register News Researcher Michael Doss contributed to this report.)