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Marine Lance Cpl. Stephen J. Perez

Died April 13, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


22, of San Antonio; assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed April 13 due to enemy action in Anbar Province, Iraq. Also killed was Cpl. Salem Bachar.


San Antonio Marine wanted to teach

SAN ANTONIO — Lance Cpl. Stephen Joseph Perez, a Marine from San Antonio who dreamed of getting his teacher certificate and working with children, has died in Iraq.

The Department of Defense said Saturday that Perez, 22, was one of two Marines who died Thursday in Anbar Province. The other was Cpl. Salem Bachar, 20, of Chula Vista, Calif.

Perez was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. Bachar was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.

Conrado Perez Jr., of Eagle Pass, said Marines told him shrapnel struck his son in the right temple. The shrapnel came from an explosion between Fallujah and Karma where there had been heavy fighting.

“They were engaged in battle almost daily,” his father said in a story in the San Antonio Express-News.

Perez received both the word of his son’s death and a letter from his son on the same day because of the lag time in the arrival of letters from Iraq.

In the letter, Perez told his father, “I can’t wait to taste your ribs again, Daddy.”

He also said that his company was having trouble with insurgents.

Perez grew up in San Antonio with his mother, Diana Marie Perez, and older brother, Kenneth Perez. He called Eagle Pass his second home, his father said.

“I never saw him angry,” he said. “His mother did a fantastic job of raising that boy.”

Perez was due to return home in August and planned to work toward a teaching certificate.

At least 204 Texas service members have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

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