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Old 07-14-2009, 09:16 AM
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Post MSgt Jerome D. Hatfield, 36, of Axton, VA. and L/CPL Pedro A. Barbozaflores, 27, of Glendale, CA(Afghanistan)

DOD NEWS RELEASE No. 511-09 Dated July 14, 2009

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Pedro A. Barbozaflores, 27, of Glendale, Calif., and Master Sgt. Jerome D. Hatfield, 36, of Axton, Va., died July 11 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the II Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at (910) 451-7200.



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Old 07-25-2009, 07:38 AM
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JACKSONVILLE - Master Sgt. Jerome David Hatfield, 36, of 162 Horse Shoe Bend, Jacksonville, died Saturday, July 11, 2009, in Afghanistan.

He was born on Oct. 23, 1972, in Welch, W.Va., to the late Otis Hatfield and Mary Belle Hatfield. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by a brother, Bud Baker.

Master Sgt. Hatfield served in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Lejeune serving in Afghanistan with 2nd LAR.

Surviving are his wife, Angela Dawn Jefferson Hatfield of the home; one daughter, Hannah Sue Hatfield of the home; sons, Jacob Ryan Hatfield and Justin David Hatfield both of the home; stepmother, Lois Wood of War, W.Va.; seven sisters; three brothers; and eight nieces and nephews.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009, at Norris Funeral Services Chapel in Martinsville, Va., with the Rev. Noel Naff and Danny Davis officiating. Burial will be in the Brim Family Cemetery, Patrick County, Va. The family will receive friends on Friday evening, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Norris Funeral Services and other times at the home of his sister-in-law, Deborah Davis, 350 Blue Spruce Drive, Martinsville, Va. Norris Funeral Services, Inc. and Crematory, Martinsville, Va., is serving the Hatfield family.

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GLENDALE — The mother of local fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Pedro Antonio Barboza Flores — who was killed July 11 in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb erupted near his armored vehicle — wept openly Friday at a Forest Lawn viewing ceremony, one hand on the open casket, the other on doting family members.

As family, friends and total strangers streamed into the Church of the Recessional Friday evening to pay their respects to the 27-year-old Glendale resident, the scene was a solemn realization of what his mother, Aurora Flores, had earlier said she dreaded most.

At her home on Thursday, awaiting the arrival of his casket from half a world away, Flores said she could hardly grapple with the reality of her son’s sudden death.

“I still have hope that it’s not him and there was some kind of error,” she said before she was scheduled to identify his remains at the airport.

A Marine sergeant told Flores that he didn’t know what condition her son’s body would be in and asked her if she would accept remaining body parts.

“This is so devastating,” she said. “I am not going to have my son complete. He was my little boy.”

His body arrived Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport, where soldiers held a military service before Los Angeles Police escorted his envoy to the Glendale border. Local police took over for the rest of the lance corporal’s final journey to Forest Lawn Memorial Park, “to bring a fallen hero from overseas home,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Barboza Flores’ death initiated a flurry of activity among community members, who organized to have a city tribute banner made while spreading news online of the casket’s arrival and itinerary of memorial services.

At the service Friday, community leaders, including Mayor Frank Quintero and Glendale Unified School District Board of Education President Mary Boger, streamed into the small church, silently filling the back rows as family members arrived.

Boger rose to embrace Barboza Flores’ sister, Aurora Alamillo, a math teacher at Glendale High School, she returned down the aisle from the platform, her mother sobbing in the foreground.

“We’re just really trying to be there for her,” Barboza Flores’ cousin, Monica Zuniga, said of his mother.

The day he died, Marines went to his Glendale home to advise Flores and her husband that he was killed in combat, but Flores was in Utah.

Her daughter was at home, but Marines refused to tell her what happened to him and said they had to speak to her parents.

Later that day, Marines appeared at Flores’ son’s home in Utah.

“In that moment, I started screaming, ‘What happened to my son, what happened to Pete, what happened to him?’” she said. “The sergeant said, ‘They killed him, they killed him. That’s the reason we are here.’”

Barboza Flores was one of five siblings and the youngest of two boys.

He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and at 1 immigrated to the United States with his family.

“He was a good son,” she said. “I never had any problems with him.”

He was respectful, patient and always tried to help others, his mother said.

Flores and her family lived in Glendale for 14 years. She later moved with her husband to Utah, where her eldest son lives.

But Barboza Flores and other siblings remained in Southern California.

“He wanted to live here in Glendale,” she said. “He loved living here. He liked being with his friends.”

He attended Hoover High School, but didn’t graduate.

Barboza Flores was dedicated to joining the Marines, but knew he wouldn’t be able to enlist unless he had a high school diploma.

He took classes at Glendale Community College and earned a GED, his mother said.

But Flores didn’t want him to become a Marine because she worried about his safety.

Ultimately, she said, she gave in.

“We couldn’t avoid it,” Flores said.

Before joining the Marines, Barboza Flores worked at Smart & Final on San Fernando Road, where he received his greatest support.

“[His co-workers] showed him that life was worth a lot and that he could be something,” his mother said. “He was always really happy working there. They inspired him to do more.”

Barboza Flores was not married and didn’t have children. He wanted to wait until he was 30 to start a family and had plans to become a local police officer after completing his tour of duty, his mother said.

“He said it was a big responsibility and wanted to be ready for it,” she said.

Barboza Flores joined the Marine Corps in March 2008, was promoted to lance corporal in December and was crewman in a light-armored vehicle, according to the Department of Defense.

He was deployed in June to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, officials said.

Barboza Flores died Saturday alongside Master Sgt. Jerome D. Hatfield, 36, of Axton, Va., when an improvised explosive device hit their vehicle.

The pair reportedly made up one of the largest Marine operations in the country since 2001, which called for about 4,000 Marines to drive through the Helmand province.

He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in the 2nd Marine Division for the II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Barboza Flores earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

He often told his mother that he was happy being a Marine and not to worry about him.

A few months ago, mother and son said their goodbyes as he prepared for next mission in Afghanistan.

“The day he left here was the last hug I had given him,” she said. “He said ‘Mom, take good care of yourself, and when I return in December, we will have a large party with the entire family, and you’ll see everything will be OK.’”
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