Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Cifuentes

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Cifuentes, 25, of Fairfield, Ohio.

Lance Cpl Cifuentes 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 Force Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Columbus, Ohio. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Michael Cifuentes planned for a perfect proposal. He went over the details for weeks with his buddies to quell his nervousness.

He sat with his girlfriend, Tara Reynolds, on an outdoor wooden bench with a packet of recent photos. Mixed into the pile was a snapshot of him holding a sign lettered, "Will You Marry Me?"

That moment last year between the two Miami University graduates is proudly posted on Cifuentes' Acacia Fraternity Web site. A few months later, Cifuentes, a Marine reservist, was activated and left Oxford for Iraq.

Cifuentes was very involved at Miami, where his mother, Carolyn, works and where he was working toward a master's degree in math education.

The 25-year-old was a five-year member of the marching band, head manager for the women's basketball team and a live-in adviser to the fraternity, according to a Miami spokesman.

Marching Band Director David Shaffer said Cifuentes, a tuba player, "always gave 100 percent. He loved Miami football and was always the team's loudest voice from the stands."

Cifuentes was one of two graduates of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati who were killed by a roadside bomb on Wednesday. The Rev. Walter Deye, president of Xavier, said the school was still trying to absorb the loss of Cifuentes and David Kreuter.

At Talawanda Middle School, the arrival of Michael J. Cifuentes as a substitute teacher was met with cheers from teachers and students alike.

Principal Sharon Lytle remembered Cifuentes as an “excellent sub” who exhibited a special willingness to help students requiring home instruction.

“He was always willing to take the toughest cases,” she said.

“He was a real team player.”

Cifuentes, 25, of Fairfield, Ohio, was killed Aug. 3 when his vehicle was hit by an explosive south of Haditha. He was based at Columbus.

A 2002 graduate of Miami University, Cifuentes enrolled in the university’s integrated mathematics master’s degree program before his unit was activated in January.

“Some of his classmates said that when he walked into a room the place lit up,” said the Rev. John Ferone.

Cifuentes is survived by his parents Gregory and Carolyn, and his fiancee, Tara Reynolds.

“We will celebrate Michael’s life for the good that he brought to this world. With his buddies and fellow Marines, he was trying to bring a better life to a people who have suffered for too long,” his parents said.

Marine Lance Cpl Michael J. Cifuentes was killed in action on 08/03/05.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

6 years are not forgotten. RIP.