Saturday, November 10, 2007

Army Spc. Lester G. Roque

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Lester G. Roque, 23, of Torrance, Calif.

Spc. Roque was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died Nov. 10, 2007 in Aranus, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when their patrol was attacked by direct fire from enemy forces. Also killed were 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara; Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman; Spc. Sean K. A. Langevin; and Pfc. Joseph M. Lancour.

Home," Army Spc. Lester Roque wrote, "is where she is."

The South Bay soldier was biding his time, serving the United States in Afghanistan, waiting for "three months to go" before he could return home to his beloved wife, Leikathryn.

The first time I saw you, I felt something different," the 23-year-old man wrote to his wife on his Friendster Web site. "It's like no other. I knew you were heaven sent."

Roque never made it home to the South Bay. He died Saturday from wounds suffered a day earlier. Insurgents attacked his patrol in the eastern Afghan city of Aranus, fatally wounding him and killing four comrades in his unit.

Matthew C. Ferrara, 24, a 1st lieutenant from Torrance, died Friday in the same attack. Roque and Ferrara were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Italy.

According to the NATO International Security Assistance Force, six ISAF service members and three Afghan National Army Soldiers were killed. Insurgents attacked their foot patrol with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

The combined force fought back with small arms, machine guns, mortars, artillery and close-air support.

Eight ISAF service members and 11 Afghan soldiers were wounded.

No one answered the door Monday evening at Roque's condominium in the unincorporated area between Harbor City and Carson.

But on their Web sites, Lester and Leikathryn - who went by Lyka - described their love affair and a longing to be reunited.

"You are part of God's army now," someone posted below a picture of Lester on his wife's site.

A native of the Philippines, Lester listed his hometown as Marikina City, where he attended school.

It was unclear when he arrived in the United States, but he listed himself as a graduate of the Claret School of Quezon City, class of 2001.

"I'm just this regular guy," he wrote. "But with someone special in my life, life is good. I love my Honey! Full time hubby. My home is where she is, where my life is.

In return, his 24-year-old wife proclaimed her love. She listed her occupation as "loving, obeying and serving her husband," and her hobbies and interests as "falling into a debate with Lester about who loves who more!"

"After much self-dissection, I still think I love him more, but I love that he disagrees," she wrote.

On Nov. 7, two days before the attack, Roque posted a message to his wife, again declaring his love and his distaste for being away from her.

"I'm still here, but I wish I could be in your arms instead," he wrote. "I'm starting to hate (it) here now, just seeing you there kinda tears me apart. I don't wish for you to be here with me, I wanna be there with you."

Mourners began offering their condolences on the couple's sites as word spread of the loss.

"You'll forever be remembered," one person named Sheilla wrote. "Such a sweet and gentle soul."

"We will forever love you," a person named Evelyn wrote. "You are a hero. But for now, you are a soldier of God. How I wish this was all a bad dream. We love you. Thank you for giving meaning in our lives. We all miss you."

Wrote DeeJay: "My brother Lester, my (heart) goes out to you. I salute you!!!"

Army Spc. Lester G. Roque was killed in action on 11/10/07.

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