Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros, 21, of Clarksville, Ark.

LCpl Ceniceros was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Oct. 14, 2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Slain Marine, A Clarksville Graduate, Remembered

A Clarksville Marine killed in battle on Thursday is remembered by family and fellow Marines as a decent and loving man who exemplified the strong character of a Marine.

Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros, 21, died while fighting in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Irvin Ceniceros died in service to a cause he believed in, said his sister, Vanessa Ceniceros.

"He told my father, ‘Don't worry for me, papa, I'm fighting for the ones who can't fight, the ones who can't defend themselves,'" Vanessa Ceniceros said.

Irvin Ceniceros was born in Tampa, Fla., the son of Maria and Ignacio Ceniceros and the youngest of four children, including Vanessa and two brothers, Ivan and Abraham.

"He was our baby brother," Vanessa Ceniceros said. "That's why it hurts so much."

For much of his adolescence, Ivan's family lived in Tampa. As a child, Vanessa said, Ceniceros played tennis and football. In 2002, Ignacio's work brought him and his family to Clarksville.

As a young man, Ceniceros became fascinated with the cars.

"He always wanted to put details on them, make them look nicer with nice rims and nice tires," Vanessa said.

Ceniceros, Vanessa said, was constantly in good spirits.

"He was a very, very funny guy, always making jokes about everything," she said. "He always saw the good things in life. If something was going to be wrong, he would find the good things."

Ceniceros signed up with the Marines in August 2007 after graduating from Clarksville High School. He departed for boot camp in September 2007.

"The Marines to him were very strong people," Vanessa said. "He admired the strength of character of the Marines; that's why I think he wanted to be in the Marines, because he was the same way."

Cpl. Andrew Gutierrez became friends with Ceniceros, who he refers to as "Cini," while they went through boot camp together.

"He was a straight-up great Marine (who) did what he was told (and) knew right from wrong," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez recalled Ceniceros' determination to prove himself as a Marine.

"(He was) a great machine gunner who did what he had to do to be the best," Gutierrez said.

Lance Cpl. Ceniceros was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, Calif. With his fellow Marines, he traveled to lands across the globe, including Hawaii, Dubai and countries in Africa.

Ceniceros was deployed to Afghanistan less than two weeks before he was killed in battle.

"He never let us know he was going," Vanessa Ceniceros said. "He didn't want us to worry; he knew our mom and dad would cry."

Ceniceros called and spoke with the family on Oct. 12, , Vanessa said. She said his words were heavy with emotion, out of character for his reliably jovial nature.

"He always made jokes, but the last time we talked to him, he was telling us he loved us and if anything happened to him to not worry because he would be close to God," she said.

"He loved to play with my little one," she said. "He used to call her ‘my little girl' and said he would always protect her."

Irvin Ceniceros grew up in Clarksville, Arkansas a community with just under 8,000 residents and is located on the banks of the Arkansas River and Lake Dardanelle. With the entire northern half of the county in the Ozark National Forest, scenic beauty and outdoor opportunities abound -- canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping.
He enlisted in the Marines in September 2007 and deployed in 2009 to the western Pacific with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Marine Lance Cpl. Irvin M. Ceniceros was killed in action on 10/14/10.

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