Thursday, August 06, 2009

Marine Cpl. Christian A. Guzman Rivera

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Christian A. Guzman Rivera, 21, of Homestead, Fla.

Cpl. Rivera was assigned to the 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Aug. 6, 2009 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

Just News -- MIAMI -- When Velma Torres saw the Marines at her house Thursday afternoon, she already knew what the news would be.

"They said, 'we need to talk - we could go inside.' I said, 'you bring me bad news?' And they say 'yes,'" she told Local 10's Janine Stanwood.

It was news her 21-year-old son Christian Guzman Rivera had been killed in Afghanistan.

"My heart is broken - I'm not going to have him anymore," she said.

On Friday night, surrounded by family and friends, his mother wore his hefty ring from boot camp around her neck. Rivera was big. And strong.

"He was in great shape," said Cristobal Rivera, an uncle.

"He was always outgoing and fun and competing. Always competiting," added Felix Torres, Velma's husband.

Together, they had a blended family that included two boys and two girls. The siblings looked up to Rivera as a mentor.

Rivera was just promoted to Corporal last week. He was supporting combat operations in the Farah Province of Afghanistan when he was killed.

A 2006 graduate of Homestead Senior High, Rivera wanted to be a firefighter for the Marines.

"That's what he wanted to do. That's the uniform he wanted to wear," said his uncle.

After high school, and serving in the ROTC for four years, Rivera had graduated from the Miami-Dade Fire academy. But after being stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and then sent to Afghanistan in May, he never got to fight fires.

He still served his country.

"We're going to miss him. We're really going to miss him," said Felix.

His wife has grown tired of the war.

"We are wondering when this is gonna stop. It's 8 years already. And how many more - how many more heroes they need?" she asked.

Rivera's uncle made a plea:

"To everybody out there - everytime you see a service man - say thank you. Thank you for the service you've done."

Marine Cpl. Christian A. Guzman Rivera was killed in action on 8/6/09.

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