Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Marine Cpl. Benjamin S. Rosales

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Benjamin S. Rosales, 20, of Houston, TX

Cpl. Rosales was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Oct. 4 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Edward M. Garvin.

Fallen Houston-area Marine stood up for U.S.
Mother tried to keep him out, but son of immigrants 'wanted to give something back'

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Maria Salgado never bought the gun.

Really, she never planned to. She just was desperate to keep her son from joining the U.S. Marine Corps and fighting in Iraq, and thought a pistol might be the only way to chase pesky recruiters from her door.

Benjamin Salgado Rosales, her son, was passionate about the Marines. He wanted to join right away, at age 17, fresh out of Katy's Mayde Creek High School. The son of immigrants, he loved the United States, what it stood for and the opportunities it offered.

Salgado wept two years ago when she signed the papers that let her son enlist.

She wept Sept. 1 when the ramrod straight Marine corporal — married just weeks before to his longtime sweetheart — shipped out for the Middle East.

Friday she wept again, more bitterly than ever, after learning that Benjamin had been killed.

Rosales, 20, died Wednesday when a roadside bomb detonated in Iraq's Al Anbar province. Assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., he is the 53rd Houston-area serviceman to die in combat in Iraq.

"I didn't want my son in the military," a tearful Salgado said Friday as she sat at her kitchen table, surrounded by family and friends. "I grew my kids in a lot of love. I taught them not to kill — not even bugs or plants. ... I didn't want the Marines to train my son to kill."

Ali Daher, Salgado's husband and Rosales' stepfather, said the family opposed the teen's enlistment on moral grounds. And Salgado, who came to the United States from Mexico 34 years ago, said she fervently would battle anyone who tried to invade the United States

"I told him if someone invaded our country, he could be the first to enlist," she said. "And I told him I would be right behind him."

Rosales was a sterling student and backyard basketball player who dreamed of becoming a plastic surgeon, said his brother, Abraham Daher, 15.

"He was quiet and polite," his stepfather added. "He seemed 10 years older than he was."

Family members were at a loss to explain Rosales' passion for the military.

"By the time he was in the 11th grade," his stepfather said, "he had made up his mind. It was a strong passion. ... He wanted to serve his country. The fact that he was the son of immigrants — he saw what the country offered his family, the opportunities in life, and wanted to give something back."

Daher, who immigrated from Lebanon in 1978, said he, too, opposed Rosales' entering the military "but not as strongly as his mother did."

Salgado pleaded with her son. She repelled recruiters, telling one to leave her son alone. At one point, she mused about arming herself to underscore her message.

"It wasn't a threat against the recruiter," her husband hastened to clarify.

"It was," Abraham Daher suggested, "a metaphor."

Rosales was determined to join two neighborhood friends in becoming Marines.

"Someone has to stand up for our country," he told his mother. "I'm sorry, Mom, but I'm joining."

Salgado asked what he would do if she refused to sign on his behalf. He responded he would wait until he was 18, then join anyway.

"I respected his feelings," Salgado said. "I knew that I could not change his feelings."

Rosales returned to Houston in August to marry his fiancee, Angela Chow, on Aug. 7. The Marine insisted on wearing his uniform during the ceremony.

"He was even more polite after he joined the Marines," his stepfather recalled. "It was no more 'Mom.' It was 'Yes, sir.' and 'No, ma'am.' "

Rosales turned 20 on Aug. 26.

He went to fight the war six days later.

Marine Cpl. Benjamin S. Rosales was killed in action on 10/04/06.


Anonymous said...

Cpl Rosales, aka Rosy, was my mechanic in 3rd Plt D Co. He was a polite, respectful, hard working Marine, who was always up to the task. I remember spending many late nights with Rosy as he fixed my vehicle on the ramp. He was detrimental to our platoon's success. To Mrs. Rosales and Rosy's family, I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you Rosy, and Semper Fi. Sgt Daniel J. English

Terri Rager said...

Sgt English's comment was allowed because I am quite sure he meant that Cpl. Rosales was instrumental to their platoon.

John Farrell said...

I checked in to 2nd LAR in May 2005. When others "gave hell" to the new guy, Benjamin showed me the ropes. He wanted me to feel welcome and comfortable in my new home. He was known in the BN and in the barracks as a professional. The only thing bigger than his personal courage was his heart. I'm honored and fortunate to have known such a gentleman.

sgt fred said...

I've been in LAR since 01 and I remember rosy checking into the bn. He was timid and meek but wanted to do the best he could. He strived to be a great marine and rose thru the ranks fast. It's just a shame he had to go when he had so much to offer. I loved him and thought he was a great man. I'll miss him dearly but he is only gone, not forgotten. Sgt Fred

sgt fred said...

Love you brother

Anonymous said...

Rosey was my friend. I think about him all the time. I spent many days with him talking, bonding, and learning what " the brotherhood" really meant. I miss you Benji! I remember ther mechanics in 2nd LAR to be top notch, but non harder working than Rosey. How many evenings did he spend working his tail off to make sure we were up and running? Every chance he got! You will never leave my heart brother! - Grant Monge