Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marine Cpl. Kevin A. Cueto

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Kevin A. Cueto, 23, of San Jose, Calif.

Cpl. Cueto was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 22, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Also killed was Cpl. Claudio Patino IV.

SAN JOSE, CA -- A 23-year-old Marine corporal from San Jose was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to the Department of Defense.

Cpl. Kevin A. Cueto was supporting combat operations in Helmand province. He is the second person from the Bay Area to be killed in Afghanistan in the past two weeks. Army specialist Nathan Cox, 27, of Fremont, died after insurgents attacked the unit he was with on June 16.

Cueto enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 15, 2005, and this was his second combat deployment. He had previously served in Iraq in 2009, according to the Department of Defense.

His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Cueto was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Since the eighth grade, Kevin Cueto wanted to be in the military.

And so, when the 23-year-old Marine from the South Bay was killed by an explosive device Tuesday in Afghanistan, his family can say that he died living his dream.

"Oh, we worried about him," said his aunt, Maria Cueto, a senior building custodian at Mineta San Jose International Airport. "We tried to tell him about the dangers. But he didn't care. He said that if he was going to go, he wanted to go out for his country and for his family."

Cueto grew up in San Jose, his aunt said, and began thinking about joining the military in eighth grade. He moved to Campbell to live with his father when he was a freshman at Westmont High School, his aunt said, which is when he joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He also was on Westmont's football, baseball and wrestling teams, his aunt said.

"He was a good student," she said. "He was a good kid. He always made us laugh."

She said her nephew loved to sing and dance, and was just an "all-around happy kid'' with a really "good heart.'' Cueto had recently starting seeing someone, a young woman in the Marine reserves whom he met while on leave during Christmas at a karaoke restaurant where his cousin worked.

Cueto's Facebook page states his favorite movie was "We Were Soldiers,'' along with "Gladiator," "Spaceballs," and his favorite television shows were "Family Guy," South Park," and "Battlestar Gallactica.'' As for his interests, Cueto listed sports, video games, working out, and heavy metal and techno music.

His Facebook quote says he's "normally pretty chill (sic) love the beach and good times love doing what i do and just kickin back and relaxing.''

Maria Cueto said her family is not particularly a military family, although Kevin's father and her brother, Phillip Cueto, is a facilities supervisor for General Dynamics, a military defense company in Santa Clara. Today, the senior Cueto was in Delaware, awaiting the arrival of his son's body, which had been en route from Afghanistan to Germany to the United States. The senior Cueto was not immediately available for comment, and neither was Kevin's 19-year-old brother, Tim, who is entering Oklahoma University this fall. Kevin Cueto's mother, Kelley, lives in Oklahoma.

Marine Cpl. Kevin A. Cueto was killed in action on 6/22/10.

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