Surviving Our Fallen: Chamorros, Militarism, Religiosity, and 9/11 (Part 6)

You can read Part 1 of this essay here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here , Part 4 here, and Part 5 here.

Surviving Our Fallen: Chamorros, Militarism, Religiosity, and 9/11 (Part 6)

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A young Chamorro named Jonathan Pangelinan Santos joined the army after high school as a way to pay for college. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004. They say he collected around 75 books in Iraq and was nicknamed: the Librarian.

While in Iraq, he kept a video diary using a hand held camera and a written diary in a government-issued green notebook. He wrote: “I will read ‘The Principles of Writing,’ and then I will write the Great American novel and get hired as a professor at a prestigious university.”

Jonathan’s mother, Doris Kent, discovered the diary and tapes when the Army delivered his “Tuff Box” to her. His most valuable belongings. His relics.

She donated her son’s boots to “Eyes Wide Open,” a traveling exhibition of the American Friends Service Committee. The exhibit, began in 2004, features a pair of empty boots for each U.S. military casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a pair of shoes for each Iraqi and Afghan civilian death.

After meeting Mrs. Kent, documentary filmmaker Patricia Boiko produced and co-directed “The Corporal’s Diary: 38 Days in Iraq” (2008). Jonathan’s words and video footage are featured in the documentary.

The Corporal’s Diary Trailer 3 Minutes from Patricia Boiko on Vimeo.

 

Jonathan was 22 years old when he was killed in Iraq. A young Chamorro who dreamed of being a writer. He could’ve studied creative writing in college; he could’ve written the Great Chamorro novel; he could’ve taught at the University of Guam.

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[2008]

[U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Gamboa of the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, from Merizo died March 25 in Iraq from injuries sustained when he came under indirect fire. He was 34]

[U.S. Army Spc. Philton Ueki was killed in Iraq on April 23. He was buried in California]

[Christopher Albert Quitugua died June 19 in Iraq after the vehicle he was riding in flipped after a tire blowout. He was 28]

[Guam Army National Guard Sgt. Brian S. Leon Guerrero was killed July 10 in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device. He was 34]

[Guam Army National Guard Spc. Samson A. Mora was killed July 10 in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device. He was 28]

[U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony M. “Tony” Carbullido died Aug. 8 from injuries he suffered when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan]

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My first book of poems was published in 2008. I was 28 years old.

~

[2009]

[Hawaii Army National Guard Spc. Cwislyn K. Walter, 19, died as a result of injuries sustained in a single-vehicle accident Feb. 19 in Kuwait]

[U.S. Army Sgt. Jasper Obakrairur, 26, of Palau, was killed by a roadside bomb on June 1 in Nerkh, Afghanistan]

[U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Jose San Nicolas Crisostomo, formerly of Inarajan, died on Aug. 18, after an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan]

[U.S. Army Sgt. Youvert Loney, 28, Pohnpei, Micronesia; died Sept. 5 in Abad, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle using small arms and recoilless rifle fire]

~

On Sunday, March 8, 2009, The Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatna, the capital of Guam, hosted “Operation: Special Intentions.” This exhibit presented relics of St. Anthony of Padua (Patron Saint of Sailors), St. Therese of Lisieux (Patron Saint of Pilots and Aircrews), and St. Ignatius of Loyola (Patron of Soldiers).

This national tour was coordinated with the Los Angeles-based Apostolate for Holy Relics, the Archdiocese for Military Service in Washington, DC, and the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George (US Delegation). The relics arrived on Guam after a tour in the Archdiocese of Manila (Philippines), and they continued to Pearl Harbor.

According to Monsignor James L.G. Benavente from Guam: “This is an opportunity for the people to express their solidarity with loved ones in the armed forces. I invite our faithful, family, and friends to pray to and visit with these patron sains so that they may intercede for all of us, especially those abroad…Let this be a time to recall the ultimate sacrifice given by our military men and women—past and present.”

The Cathedral also invited those with loved ones serving in the military to “enlist” their names in the prayer book and to post tribute photos at the church.

~

St. Anthony of Padua, Tayuyuti ham.

St. Therese of Lisieux, Tayuyuti ham.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Tayuyuti ham.

 

            ~

There’s a picture of Mrs. Kent holding a pair of boots. The laces are threaded with a rosary.

~

[2010]

[U.S. Army Spc. Eric M. Finniginam, 26, of Yap, died May 1 of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan]

[U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Akoni Sablan Lukeala, 23, formerly of Yigo, died while in combat in Afghanistan]

[U.S. Marine Cpl. Dave Michael Santos, 21, was killed July 16 in Afghanistan]

[Army Pfc. Jaysine “Jen” Petree, 19, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan]

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