Monday, January 01, 2007

Gone But Never Forgotten

Gone, but never forgotten - Dudkiewicz & Castro are forever heroes
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Monday, January 01, 2007

Among the noblest pursuits a person can undertake is defense of one's homeland. And although scores of local young men and women volunteer their time and take up arms to preserve freedom with all of the United States armed forces, anytime these brave citizens pay a price for their commitment the hurt and pain of their loss is felt throughout our tightly-knit island community. This year, Guam laid to rest two of its own, with a pair of servicemen losing their lives in Iraq.

Kasper Dudkiewicz and Jesse Joel Jesus Castro were both lost, but certainly will never be forgotten. In January, Dudckiezicz, 23, was killed in Mosul when his humvee was involved in a collision. The military police officer had just married his sweetheart Katie three months earlier, and had only been deployed to the Middle East that past November.

Then in December we reported the death of our island's seventh causality of war, as we learned of Castro's passing. Just a week away from his twenty-fourth birthday, he and four soldiers from his combat unit was killed by an improvised explosive while on patrol in Kirkuk. He leaves behind a young wife, and a month-old son he had never met, who he looked forward to christen upon his return.

2006 ended with the memory of yet another fallen hero, as Richard Naputi, Jr. had the baseball field in Talofofo on which he starred for so many years as a youngster renamed in his honor exactly one year to the day he was killed in Iraq.

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