Cpl. Adam Emul, who sister says wanted to serve, is killed in Iraq at age 19
By Brian Alexander
Lance Cpl. Adam Emul was a quiet and very independent teen, yet it still surprised his family when he came home from school one day and said he had signed up for the armed services.
"He was proud; it was something that he wanted to do," his sister, Maryann Mendiola, said Thursday. "We didn't like his decision at the time, but he just kept telling us that it was something that he wanted to do."
Cpl. Emul died in Iraq on Monday during operations in the Al Anbar province, the Department of Defense announced Thursday. Though the department didn't release the details of his death, his sister said he was hit by a bomb's explosion while on foot patrol.
Cpl. Emul, 19, graduated in 2005 from Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Clark County, and went into basic training, his sister said.
He then went on to more advanced training and was only reunited with his family for about a month before he shipped out for Iraq in September.
Cpl. Emul was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Twentynine Palms, Calif., according to the Department of Defense.
Cpl. Emul moved to Vancouver from Saipan in 2003 with his sister, her family and his mother, Mendiola said.
"Me and my husband, we have kids of our own, and we wanted to expose our kids to what was outside of the islands. And we wanted Adam to be part of that," Mendiola said. "Living here is way, way different from living back home. Adam pretty much adjusted real well and made friends real fast."
Cpl. Emul loved playing basketball, listening to music and doing "other teenager things," his sister said. "He was still young."
While he was in Iraq, the family kept in touch mainly via e-mail and Cpl. Emul's MySpace page. He would ask for the family to send things, particularly chocolate, for himself, and big bags of candy for the kids in Iraq he met on patrol, Mendiola said.
Mendiola expected her brother to come home in March — he was looking forward to taking a vacation to Saipan to visit family and friends who still live there, she said.
"We just saw how happy he was, and we just supported him from there. But we constantly told him: 'Please be careful,' " Mendiola said. "He was always assuring us not to worry about him, and things were going fine."
In addition to Mendiola, Cpl. Emul is survived by four brothers and sisters: Frankie Quitugua, of Saipan; Clarissa Mendiola, of Vancouver; Mindy Quitugua, of Vancouver; and Christopher Quitugua of Saipan. His parents are Angelica Quitugua, of Vancouver, and Wayne Emul of Saipan. He was preceded in death by a brother, Roger Mendiola.