Posted on Thu, Oct. 13, 2005
Pasadena Marine killed in Iraq
PASADENA, Calif. - Marine Lance Cpl. Sergio Escobar had a rough time in high school, running with a tough crowd and dropping out before finishing at a continuation school.
But after he joined the Marines, things changed, his stepfather said Tuesday, days after learning Escobar, 18, was killed by an explosive device set by enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq.
In the year after Escobar joined the service, he apologized to his family for his teenage rebellion and began to spend more time with his 7-year-old sister and 3-year-old brother.
"He changed a lot. When he graduated from boot camp, he was totally different. He was real nice, the way he would talk to me with a lot respect," Ricardo Ortiz of Pasadena said.
Escobar was killed in the explosion Oct. 9, roughly two months after he arrived in Iraq. He was assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from Twentynine Palms. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
A native of Vera Cruz, Mexico, Escobar came to the United States with his mother, Patricia, when he was 3. He returned to Mexico to live with his grandmother after his mother and Ortiz married, eventually returning to live with them in Pasadena.
Shortly before he left for Iraq, he married his girlfriend Sophia Conchas.
Ortiz said the family was hoping to honor Escobar's love of classic cars by getting friends to drive them during his funeral.
"He used to tell me if I ever die, I want you to take me in one of those classic cars, like a Chevy Impala," Ortiz said.
Ortiz said he and his wife didn't want their son to join the military.
"I said 'why don't you go to college?'" he recalled, but he added that Escobar, who had participated in the ROTC in high school, had his heart set on the service.
"He was tough. He wanted to show he was tough. He was a leader," Ortiz said.
Funeral services were pending.