Friday, October 08, 2010

Navy Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez, 22, of North Miami Beach, Fla.

Corpsman Gonzalez was assigned to 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Forces, Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Oct. 8, 2010 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while supporting combat operations.

Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez, 22, died Oct. 8 after he was hit by an improvised explosive device in Helman province, according to the Department of Defense.

"Gonzo" as his friends called him, had a "S" tattoo on his chest for Superman, after he seemed to develop a knack for coming out of dangerous encounters unharmed.

"It was because he was always getting in accidents and coming out fine," friend Claudia Herrera told the Herald.

A 2007 grad of Krop Senior High, Gonzalez participated in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, and had become a medic with dreams of becoming a doctor, friends said.

"It was because he was always getting in accidents and coming out fine," said Claudia Herrera, a former high school classmate of Gonzalez's, who lived in North Miami Beach.

"He was hit by cars twice and came out without a scratch," said Victor Medina, another friend.

On Friday, Gonzalez, 22, a newlywed, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded during combat operations in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense reported Sunday. Gonzalez's body was to be flown back to Miami-Dade for burial late Sunday night.

News spread quickly among his tight-knit group of friends, many of whom had served with him as student leaders in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at Dr. Michael J. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade. He graduated from high school in 2007.

"We were in the ROTC and we socialized outside it," said Herrera. "We called ourselves The Gang . . . Probably 10 of us are in the military now. This is the first time anything has happened to us."

Gonzalez's friend Herrera is scheduled to report for Navy basic training later this month.

"He was a medic; he talked about becoming a doctor," said Marina Leventhal, another high school classmate. "He wanted to be a medic because he always wanted to help people."

Shortly before going to Afghanistan two or three months ago, Gonzalez married his girlfriend, Neshme Bazan, whom he had met in the military, friends said. She is stationed in Germany, they said.

Funeral services have not been announced. Several of his friends plan a dinner to commemorate him this week at a local bar and grill.

"And every sixth of the month we're going to go to his backyard and drink beer, light a candle and just talk about him," said Leventhal.

Gonzalez was born on the sixth of February, she said, and his friends want to commemorate his birth, not his death. He liked to throw parties in his back yard whenever he was back in town, she said.

"He was just a really great guy -- always happy, having fun," said Leventhal. "We all really miss him."

On Sunday, friends left heartfelt messages on Gonzalez's Facebook page. A YouTube memorial was quickly put together for the fallen sailor.

Friends posted and shared their own photos of Gonzalez. Among them was Victor Olmo. "A friend like Edwin deserves it," Olmo said.

Navy Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez was killed in action on 10/8/10.

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