Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Frederik E. Vazquez

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Frederik E. Vazquez, 20, of Melrose Park, Ill.

LCpl. Vazquez was assigned to 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died July 24, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

Melrose Park Marine dies in Afghanistan

Frederik E. Vazquez had talked about becoming a U.S. Marine from the time he was 7, and a few months after reaching the age of 18, he enlisted.

"I was proud of him for being brave and for doing what he wanted, for serving his country," Rubelia Vazquez said of her son, "even though deep inside, I didn't want him to go."

Lance Cpl.Vazquez, 20, from Melrose Park, was killed Saturday in Helmand province, Afghanistan, "while supporting combat operations," the Marine Corps stated Tuesday in announcing Vazquez's death. Vazquez was a rifleman.

Inside the brown-brick home with the Marines flag displayed on a corner, his extended family on Tuesday remembered Erik Vazquez as a hard worker, a quiet kid with a playful side who returned from Marine Corps boot camp a more responsible, respectful adult. He talked about attending college after the Marines, relatives said.

"I guess you would say he came back a man," his father, Juan, said through Frederik's brother, Juan Carlos Vazquez. "He ended up helping out even more around the house. He would ask permission to do this or that. He was always respectful but gave out even more respect than he had in the past."

Erik Vazquez was born April 14, 1990, in Los Angeles, the younger of two sons. The family moved to Northlake five years later and resided there until 2006, when Juan and Rubelia Vazquez wanted what they perceived as a better education for their son. They moved to Melrose Park, and Frederik transferred from Proviso West High School to West Leyden High School his junior year. He graduated in 2008.

His family called him "Erik." Friends knew him as "Freddy." He loved paintball and basketball, and military combat video games. He'd hide in bushes across the street from his family's home on Armitage Avenue and jump out at his cousin, Kimberly Trujillo, when she'd pass, Trujillo recalled.

"He made people laugh and he loved hanging out with his family," Trujillo, 15, said. "He called me 7-Eleven because I never shut up."

But, when her spirits were down, "he'd give me advice and tell me everything would be fine," she said.

Lance Cpl. Vazquez was deployed to Afghanistan on March 5, his family said. He originally was expecting to return in October. But a short time ago, he told his parents and brother that he would be home in August.

"We were expecting him," Juan Carlos Vazquez said.

Visitation for Lance Cpl. Vasquez will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 30, at Cuneo Columbian Funeral Home, 10300 Grand Ave., in Franklin Park.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 31, at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 1637 N. 37th Ave., in Melrose Park.

Interment will follow in Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleums, 1400 S. Wolf Road, Hillside.

Lance Cpl. Vazquez is survived by his parents Juan and Rubelia Vazquez and brother Juan Carlos.

Marine Lance Cpl. Frederik E. Vazquez was killed in action on 7/24/10.

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