Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr., 24, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

LCpl. Xavier was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 18, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of while supporting combat operations.

Patrick Xavier, 24, was a graduate of Miramar High School, and had only recently left for Afghanistan. In his last message to friends and family on his Facebook account, Xavier writes on Feb. 2 from Afghanistan.

“I just want to get the opportunity to tell everyone that I’m probably not going to be on here for a while because things are about to get hectic if you know what I mean and but I’m going to do the best I can and leave the rest in God’s hands,” writes Xavier. “To all of my family and friends, I love you guys and I’m sorry Amani that I didn’t mention you last time. I love you too, babe! A lot more than you think!”

His friend, Jeff Longchamps, told CBS4's Fiorella Alvarez in a Facebook message, "Patrick was a special person, a family man (meaning he loved being surrounded by his brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.)"

"He had goals, dreams, he was headed far and that's a fact," Longchamps added. "All in all, he (was) someone of character and a great guy which we lost."

Grieving father recalls son with pride:

With a mixture of grief and pride, a Pembroke Pines father Friday recalled his son, killed earlier this week in Afghanistan, as an aspiring doctor who loved sports, books and the military.

Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr., 24, was killed Tuesday in the volatile Helmand Province of Afghanistan. A Marine Corps spokesman from Camp Lejeune, N.C., where Xavier was stationed, said the death resulted from a "hostile incident."

Patrick Xavier-Kemp said a bullet took the life of his son, a rifleman, during a firefight. "They told me he was a fierce fighter, a true warrior," Xavier-Kemp said. "He had no fear."

LCpl. Xavier, a 2003 graduate of Miramar High School, had been in Afghanistan less than four months when he was killed.

Days before his January deployment, he posted one last message on his My Space page: "I'm nervous and excited at the same time, but I'm very confident that I'll be back."

Xavier was born in Queens, N.Y., and moved to Florida at age 9 with his father and mother, Elizabeth Barolette. As a young man on his own, his father said, he dropped Kemp from his last name. He was the oldest of three boys, leaving younger siblings Didi Xavier-Kemp, 21, and Chad Xavier-Kemp, 18, who will travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to accompany his brother's body home.

Xavier-Kemp said his son played basketball and enjoyed watching sports, especially football.

Xavier was always drawn to the infantry and embraced that branch of the service enthusiastically.

"He was the first one on the front line," the father said. "He's not someone who's going to cop out when they ask for volunteers."

But Xavier also had an intellectual bent. "He was an avid reader, he loved philosophy books, he liked to write," his father recalled. "He was very disciplined, his room is spotless."

After the service, Xavier planned to take advantage of military benefits and attend medical school. That dream extinguished, Xavier's father clung to the memory of his son as a "brave young man" battling nobly in the desert of Helmand.

"He gave his life for his country and for his comrades," Xavier-Kemp said. "I'm proud of him."

Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr. spoke to his mother Tuesday morning before leaving for the day's military assignment, something he often did while serving in Afghanistan.

``He wanted to talk to his family before'' he went, his father, Patrick Xavier-Kemp, said Friday.

Hours later, the 24-year-old Marine was killed in a firefight in the Helmand province in southwest Afghanistan, his father said. His body was flown back to Fort Lauderdale on Friday.

``He went out there to do what he wanted to do, defending this country,'' his father said. ``Even though I feel the loss, I'm proud of how he conducted himself.''

The young man had ``a child's smile, a smile that you can read his heart through,'' his father said. ``He was a true person, honest, very dedicated.''

An avid reader, he devoured books on psychology and philosophy -- trying to gain a better understanding of the world.

A few weeks ago, his father sent him a package with two books: The Art of War and A Soldier's Story.

He was a private person, with many of his close friends also in the military, his father said.

He also loved playing basketball with his younger brothers, Didi and Chad.

He had a dream of going to medical school.

A son of Haitian immigrants, Xavier was born in Queens, N.Y.

His father and mother moved to South Florida more than a decade ago.

He graduated from Miramar High School in 2003 and tried a couple of jobs, looking to find his way.

His drive to ``make a difference'' led him to the Marines, his father said.

He advanced to the rank of lance corporal, his father said.

He was based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, according to the Department of Defense.

Said his father: ``He knew the consequences. He knew what he was dealing with, and he chose to go anyway.''

LCpl. Xavier told his father he saw fellow Marines around him getting hurt, but he continued to work hard training Afghan soldiers.

``He had no fear. He was a fierce fighter, a warrior at heart,'' his father said. ``I'm very proud he gave for the country he loved.''

The defense department release said he died ``while supporting combat operations.''

LCpl. Xavier is survived by his parents Patrick and Elizabeth (Barolette) Xavier-Kemp as well as two younger brothers Didi 21 and Chad 18 all of Pembroke Pines, FL.

A memorial and burial will be planned for South Florida National Cemetery west of Lake Worth.

Xavier was a rifleman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward, camp Lejeune, N.C. Xavier joined the Marine Corps in January 2009, and was promoted to the rank of lance corporal on March 1, 2010.

He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2010.

His awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Xavier Jr. was killed in action on 5/18/10.

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