Marine Lance Cpl. Richard P. Slocum, 19, Saugus; Killed in Humvee Rollover
By Catherine Saillant
Times Staff Writer
October 31, 2004
Richard P. Slocum joined the Marine Corps right after high school because he wanted to become a man, his father says.
Always a "tough guy," the 19-year-old viewed the military as a way to serve his country while gaining new skills and discipline, his father, Robert, said.
"Ricky felt the Marines would make a man of him," he said. "It definitely did."
The lance corporal was killed Oct. 24 in a noncombat accident when a Humvee he was riding in rolled over near Abu Ghraib, Iraq, his father said.
Slocum was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, military officials said. The Department of Defense did not release details about the accident, saying it is under investigation.
Slocum had been manning a machine gun in the turret when the Humvee swerved to avoid a barrier in the road. He was fatally ejected when the vehicle rolled over, his father said.
He said his son had hoped to attend college after a four-year stint in the military.
Robert Slocum and his wife, Kay, supported their son's decision to join the Marines shortly after his graduation from Saugus High School last year even though no one else in the family had served in the military since the Korean War.
Slocum played football and baseball and enjoyed bodybuilding in high school, his father said. After straying from religion, Slocum began quoting Bible verses in letters home as he approached his duty in Iraq, his father said.
"He had a tough-guy image," Robert Slocum said. "But deep down inside, he had a soft heart and would do anything for family and friends."
In addition to his parents, Slocum is survived by a brother, Robert, 22; a sister, Kimberly, 24; his grandparents, Bob and Shirley Slocum of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Hilma Kelley of Lancaster; and a nephew.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Eternal Valley Mortuary in Newhall.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday [Nov. 2] at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita. Burial will be at Eternal Valley Cemetery in Newhall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross. Checks should be made out to ARC-Service to Military Families and sent to 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057.