Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin G. Waruinge

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin G. Waruinge, 22, of Tampa, Florida.

Lance Cpl Waruinge died when his Amphibious Assault Vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device during combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Gulfport, Mississippi.

Kevin Waruinge was a teenager living in his native Kenya when his family won a lottery to receive a visa to the United States and a chance for a new life.

But for Waruinge, 22, of Tampa, that new life ended this week with a massive explosion on a dusty road in western Iraq.

The Lance Corporal, who had volunteered to return to Iraq, was one of 14 Marines killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb struck their lightly armored Amphibious Assault Vehicle near the town of Haditha.

For Waruinge, dying on an unmarked street in an obscure Iraqi desert town marked the end of a promising life.

In 1998, his family entered a worldwide lottery to win a visa to immigrate to the United States. Millions apply for the visas, with just 50,000 awarded each year.

Waruinge, his parents and his two brothers moved to Tampa, where his father works for a soda bottling company and his mother is a nurse.

Kevin Waruinge graduated in 2001 from West Gate Christian School, and joined the Marine Corps Reserve in August of the same year. He became a U.S. citizen in 2003.

Though Waruinge had been a citizen for only two years, he was an American through and through, said the pastor at his church and school.

"He was an African boy who was all-American," said the Rev. Bruce Turner, pastor of West Gate Baptist Church.

Turner said Waruinge, an honor student and athlete, knew what he wanted to do when he graduated.

"He just couldn't wait to be a Marine," Turner said. "That's what he wanted."

Waruinge survived one tour of duty in Iraq, returning home to resume his studies at Pensacola Christian College. But about five months ago, he volunteered to return for another tour in Iraq, despite the danger, Turner said.

"He knew he could die there. His father talked to him about that before he went back," Turner said. "But he wanted to go. He said he felt like the job needed to be done. And he said if God wanted him, he'd find him no matter where he was."

Waruinge was scheduled to return home Oct. 1.

At Pensacola Christian College, Waruinge was a junior closing in on a degree in criminal justice, said Matt Beemer, the college's vice president.

Turner said Waruinge's parents were devastated by his death, but took solace in their faith and their new country.

"They're very proud of their son," Turner said. "He wanted to be a Marine, and he wanted to go back to Iraq. He loved this country."

Marine Lance Cpl Kevin G. Waruinge was killed in action on 08/03/05.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

an American hero. God bless you and your family, Kevin. thank you for making your fellow Americans proud