GUAM SOLDIER 18TH MICRONESIAN KILLED IN IRAQ

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By Eric Palacios

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 8) – The island was declared in a state of mourning yesterday following the death of another one of Guam's heroic sons – Army Pfc. John D. Flores, 21, of Barrigada.

Flores' wife, Charlene and their 18-month-old daughter Chloe; his mother, Christine Wertz; and Cindy Kazuo, his mother-in-law, in addition to numerous loved ones and family members, survive him.

Flores was killed Thursday when his unit came under attack by enemy forces in Baghdad. He is the 10th Guamanian and 18th person from the Micronesia region to be killed since the war on terror began in 2003, Pacific Daily News files state.

Another soldier, Sgt. Felix G. Gonzalez-Iraheta, 25, of Sun Valley, Calif., also was killed in the attack. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

In Flores' honor, a nightly Mass is being held at the Santa Barbara Church in Dededo, while a nightly rosary is being said at his grandparents-in-law's Liguan Terrace, Dededo residence.

Flores' family last saw him October 2006, "when he came for two weeks of rest and relaxation," said Kazuo yesterday, adding that family members still weren't sure when he would be returning.

"His arrival home is still pending," Kazuo said.

Officials from the on-island U.S. Army Reserve detachment yesterday said they could not comment on the matter.

The news of Flores' death has been extremely difficult for everyone that knew him, Kazuo said. It also is taking its toll on her daughter, to whom he was married for a little over a year.

"It's so overwhelming for her right now, but she's trying really hard to cope," Kazuo said. "He was such a fine man; very attentive to his wife and his family."

Acting Gov. Mike Cruz yesterday declared an island wide "State of Mourning," and ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Flores.

"The willingness of Army (Pfc.) John D. Flores to serve our country and protect our home has earned our lasting gratitude. We recognize and honor him and all the patriots who have fought to protect the ideals that are the foundation of our nation. He now joins that solemn fraternity of heroes who have put their country before themselves and made the greatest sacrifice," Cruz stated in a proclamation.

"The people of Guam proudly salute Army (Pfc.) John D. Flores for his unselfish service. His sacrifices will not be forgotten. Guam mourns his loss with his family," Cruz states.

The State of Mourning, the proclamation states, started yesterday and will last until the final day of Flores' interment.

The U.S. and Guam flags that will fly on the final day of Flores' interment will be presented to his family, Cruz also ordered.

Pacific Daily News

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