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    Fallen Big Island Marine honored by community, Corps

    First active duty Marine laid to rest at Kona Veterans Cemetery

    Photo By Cpl. James Sauter | Cpl. Ronald Bellomy, Marine Forces Pacific Band, plays taps during a funeral service...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii

    HILO, Hawaii — A community united to honor one of their own at the West Hawaii Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Aug. 18.

    Lance Cpl. Christopher Camero died July 15 after being injured in Helmand province, Afghanistan, serving with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, supporting combat operations during Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Against a vibrant green backdrop, nestled in the black lava field — a picturesque Hawaiian landscape — hundreds gathered to lay Camero to rest.

    “We joined the Marine Corps together in 2010,” Lance Cpl. Krisielle Molina, a reservist and close friend of Camero, said. “He’s a very fun person and he just wanted to be a Marine.”

    The crowd of supporters at the cemetery were met by the funeral procession traveling 40 miles from the Annunciation Catholic Church in Waimea, Hawaii. Leading the line of vehicles was the loud, steady rumble from a dozen veteran’s motorcycles.

    The entrance to the cemetery was framed by an American flag hanging from two cranes, and as the procession passed through the patriotic archway, supporters placed their hands over their hearts or saluted.

    Camero is the first active duty Marine from the island of Hawaii to be killed in action and buried at the cemetery. He was raised on the island of Hawaii, and enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 18 years old. Sarrah Camero remembered her brother as a young boy growing up in a military-tradition family, he played with toy planes, built block fortresses for plastic soldiers and showed enthusiasm to one day serve his country. In high school, Camero was active in football, wrestling and judo, which prepared him for the rigors of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

    “He was a troublemaker as a child,” Sarrah Camero said. “He was always trying to irritate me, but in a loving way. His senior year, he fought our mom tooth-and-nail to sign the enlistment form. My Mom just wanted for us what we dreamed of, and that’s what she wanted to give him.”

    After graduating from Honokaa High School in 2010, Camero enlisted in the Marines and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. When his family found out he was to deploy to Afghanistan, his mother, Norma Camero, and Sarrah said they took time to say goodbye to him.

    “He’ll always be remembered because he always lit up the room,” Sarrah Camero said. “He’s always cracking jokes and that makes him lovable.”

    A funeral detail of 10 Marines wearing crisp dress uniforms from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, met the hearse at the cemetery. They carried the casket, draped with an American flag, to the grave as mourners watched in silence.

    Camero was laid to rest with full military honors, including a three-volley rifle salute and a bugler playing “Taps.”

    “More than any other service, the Marine Corps is a brotherhood,” Col. Russell Smith, Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, said. “The death of one Marine, even if we didn't know him, is like someone dying in our family.”

    Hawaii Rep. Mazie Hirono and representatives of the state governor and mayor of Hawaii County paid their respects alongside the family and friends.

    “We will definitely miss Chris,” Sarrah Camero said. “He had a short 19 years, but we will remember the positive things about him.”
    The detail of Marines tightly folded the flag from the casket and presented it Camero’s mother, and folded another to present to his sister. As the service came to a close, mourners were given either a rose or rose pedals to place on the casket.

    “He was in the Marine Corps for only a short year, but he deserves this funeral,” Sarrah Camero said. “I’m very proud of him and I’m sure he’s smiling down right now.”



    Date Taken: 08.18.2011
    Date Posted: 08.23.2011 00:54
    Story ID: 75753
    Location: HILO, HI, US 

    Web Views: 361
    Downloads: 3