Thursday, July 10, 2008

Army Spc. Samson A. Mora

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Samson A. Mora, 28, of Dededo, Guam

Spc. Mora was assigned to 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, Barrigada, Guam; died July 10, 2008 in Babo Kheyl, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Spc. Brian S. Leon Guerrero.

Fallen soldiers home: Remains of Mora, Leon Guerrero returned
By William B. Martin Jr. • Pacific Sunday News • July 20, 2008

On the eve of the celebration of Guam's liberation, the island mourns the loss of two soldiers.

The remains of fallen Guam Guardsman Samson A. Mora returned to his family yesterday afternoon, received by a gathering of his fellow islanders and local dignitaries.

Mora, 28, a car-show enthusiast from Dededo, died of injuries sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on July 10.

At the ceremony, a sleek black Honda Civic was emblazoned with the words "In loving memory of Samson Mora."

Sgt. Brian S. Leon Guerrero, 34, a father of three from Tamuning, was killed in the same explosion, which also injured Spc. Kalani Echang, 25, from Mangilao. Leon Guerrero's body was returned home late last night to a similar ceremony ceremony.

Echang is recovering at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

The deaths of the two Guardsmen bring the number of sons of Micronesia killed since the War on Terror began in 2001 to 28. More than 4,100 U.S. servicemen have been killed since the start of the war.

Mora was engaged to be married to Rosanna Castro of Ordot, who was awaiting his return for the wedding.

"Mora gave everything he had for what he believed in," said retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Ricardo Cruz of the Marine Corps. Cruz is junior vice commander of the Asia-Pacific Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. "(Our attendance) is the least we can give to an individual that died serving his country," he said.

Fellow Guardsmen lined up and saluted as the vehicle containing their fallen brother arrived at the old airport terminal.

As Mora's casket was carried along a red carpet by the soldiers, members of various veterans organizations joined the salute, lining up along the walkway.

Angelina Mora, Samson Mora's mother, cried out as Abraham Mora, the soldier's father, clutched a white cloth to his face, embracing his wife.

Maj. Gen. Donald Goldhorn, Guam National Guard adjutant general, said Mora was known among his peers and officers as a quiet but happy soldier, and well-suited for battle.

"We salute you, Sgt. Mora, for your courage and bravery," he said.

Other family members buried their faces into Mora's casket, crying as they comforted one another.

"The sacrifice he made for our freedom must never be forgotten," Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo said, addressing those gathered.

Acting Gov. Michael Cruz offered his condolences to Mora's family on behalf of Gov. Felix Camacho and the people of Guam, saying Guam will always be grateful for the ultimate sacrifice Mora made.

"Sgt. Mora served our nation and island with dignity and honor," he said. "Welcome home, Sgt. Samson Mora."

According to his cousin, Charlita Harper, Mora was also a member of the Honor Guard, those responsible for seeing to a fallen soldier's proper military burial.

Harper said Mora was very proud of the "prestigious" responsibility.

From the airport, the entourage proceeded to the Guam National Guard Readiness Center in Barrigada to allow Guard service members and their families to salute the soldier.

Mora was then brought to his parents' home in Dededo for a brief stop, before continuing on to Ada's funeral home in Sinajana.

Leon Guerrero's body also will be brought first to the Guam National Guard Readiness Center, and then to Our Lady of Peace in Barrigada.

Mora, Leon Guerrero and Echang are members of the 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry that deployed to Afghanistan in January of this year, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. About 180 Guam soldiers from the Alpha Company are in Afghanistan.

Army Spc. Samson A. Mora was killed in action on 7/10/08.

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