Sunday, December 18, 2005

Marine Lance Cpl. Samuel Tapia

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Samuel Tapia, 20, of San Benito, Texas

Lance Cpl. Tapia was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward); killed Dec. 18 by small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq. -- December 21, 2005 A 20-year-old San Benito native serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq died Sunday.

Lance Cpl. Samuel Tapia, who graduated from San Benito High School in 2004, was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines Weapons Company in Iraq, his wife Jackelyn Tapia said.

“He died in action,” she said. “He was the only one (who died that day). He died like a true hero, like a true Marine.”

She said Tapia had been in the Marine Corps for a year and three months and had been in Iraq for four months. She said he was an infantryman and was doing patrols.

“He would always tell me he wasn’t scared of dying,” Jackelyn Tapia said, adding that he had called her almost every day for the last month.

“He was proud of what he was doing.”

She said she and Tapia met while working at Whataburger. They had been married for a year and a half and had one daughter, Samantha who turned 1-year-old the day of her father's death.

She said her husband always had a smile on his face.

“He was very happy, always making people laugh,” she said. “He was a big-time joker.”

In high school, he was in choir. After the military, he wanted to be a state trooper or a police officer, Jackelyn Tapia said.

But, Samuel had always had a dream of serving in the Marines, his aunt, Maria Tapia, said.

“Since he was 5 years old, he wanted to be a Marine,” she said in Spanish.

She said Samuel was a “good boy,” “educated” and “calm.”

Maria Tapia said she was there when Samuel was born on Sept. 4, 1985, in a San Benito house.

“I feel bad because I received him when he born,” she said, adding she was handed Samuel immediately after he was delivered.

“He was real outgoing,” his cousin, Marco Tapia, said.

Another cousin, Carmelo, agreed about that.

In addition to his wife, daughter, numerous cousins, uncles and aunts, Tapia is survived by his parents, Juvenal and Rosario Tapia of San Benito, one brother and one sister.

Marine Lance Cpl. Samuel Tapia was killed in action on 12/18/05.

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