Two Guam National Guardsmen Killed In Afghanistan

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Soldiers’ convoy struck by suicide car bomb

By Frank Whitman

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, May 20, 2013) – Two members of the Guam Army National Guard have been killed in Afghanistan, Gov. Eddie Calvo announced Saturday evening as he placed the island in a state of mourning.

Spc. Dwayne W. Flores and Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon died last Thursday morning in Kabul when their convoy was struck by a suicide car bomb. About 600 members of the Guam National Guard arrived in Afghanistan in early May, as part of the largest deployment of Guard members in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Calvo said that he, first lady Christine Calvo, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and Tenorio’s wife, attorney Naoko Shimizu, ask "for the prayers of every Guamanian for the families and friends of Sgt. Eugene M. Aguon, and Spc. Dwayne W. Flores. There are no words to describe the overwhelming grief of our island on this tragic day. May the Lord be with their parents and loved ones to give them strength."

The governor’s statement also said that Maj. Gen. Benny Paulino, the adjutant general of the Guam National Guard, has committed all resources necessary to take care of the families "as they go through this most difficult time."

Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo also issued a statement about the deaths. "I am deeply saddened at the loss of Sgt. Eugene Aguon and Spc. Dwayne Flores," Bordallo said. "These brave men made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and for our entire nation while serving in Afghanistan. We will be forever grateful for their service. My heart goes out to their family and friends, and I ask that our island community surround them with prayers and sympathy during this difficult time. This is a very sad day for our island."

Altar server

Flores was a member of the Catholic parish of Hagåtña, whose church is the Dolce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. Until recent months, he was an altar server for the 5:45 a.m. Chamorro Mass for at least five years, said Gerry Taitano, parish council president and coordinator for the early morning Mass. He said that arranging servers for the Mass has always been difficult, but that when Flores learned of the need, he volunteered and "was always there, regardless; he showed great dedication and faith," Taitano said. "He only stopped this past year when his National Guard training became too demanding."

"The parish is devastated by the news of his death, but we’re also confident that he’s in heaven," Taitano said. "We have no doubt that he died in a state of grace."

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Flores’ remains had arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Fifteen people were killed in Thursday’s blast, according to the AP. In addition to the two soldiers from Guam, four American civilian employees of Dyncorps and nine Afghan civilians, including two children, were killed. Thirty-five people were wounded.

Hezb-e-Islami, an Islamic militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the AP. The group said the attack "was carried out by a new suicide unit formed in response to reports that the U.S. plans to keep permanent bases and troops in Afghanistan even after the 2014 deadline for the end of the foreign combat mission," the AP report states.

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a difficult day

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