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Saturday, Jun. 24, 2006 at 10:37 PM
A 20-year-old Marine from Lancaster has been killed in Iraq, becoming the third young Antelope Valley man to die there since the 2003 invasion. Cpl. Christopher Leon, a 2004 Lancaster High School graduate, died Tuesday from wounds suffered in combat, Marine officials said.
da-sd-03-15110.jpg, image/jpeg, 429x292
Local Marine killed in combat in Iraq conflict
Military releases no details in death of Christopher Leon
BY CHARLES F. BOSTWICK, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
LANCASTER - A 20-year-old Marine from Lancaster has been killed in Iraq, becoming the third young Antelope Valley man to die there since the 2003 invasion.
Cpl. Christopher Leon, a 2004 Lancaster High School graduate, died Tuesday from wounds suffered in combat, Marine officials said.
In keeping with Marine Corps policy, officials did not specify how or when Leon was wounded other than to say it happened in Iraq's western al-Anbar province, which contains the Sunni Triangle insurgency hot spots of Fallujah and Ramadi.
Leon had been serving with the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, based in Okinawa, a unit that directs aircraft and artillery gunfire against enemy targets.
Leon was remembered as a quiet, dependable, helpful teen at his school and at the pet store where he worked stocking shelves during high school and after graduation until he joined the Marines.
"He was a real nice guy, with a big smile," said Rosie Paez, Lancaster High School's receptionist.
Leon had worked about a year and a half at the Lancaster PetSmart store, quitting when he enlisted in the Marines, who have a recruiting office next door.
"I think he said he'd always wanted to join," said Laura Adkins, a PetSmart manager.
Adkins remembered Leon as a hard-working and dependable employee, who always helped customers carry purchases out to their cars.
"He was a really good associate," Adkins said.
Leon's mother had come into the store two or three weeks ago and told Adkins she was looking forward to her son's return from Iraq, Adkins said.
Leon was the third Marine from the Antelope Valley to die in Iraq, all in Al-Anbar province.
Staff Sgt. Allan Walker, a 28-year-old Highland High School alumnus, died leading an infantry unit in Ramadi in April 2004.
Walker was one of a dozen Marines killed in combat in the area that day. Walker had been with a unit sent in to aid other Marines who had been ambushed.
Walker, who was single and had no children, had been a Marine for nearly 10 years. He spent the last two years as a drill instructor, training recruits, before he transferred to a combat unit three months before he was killed.
Cpl. Ian Stewart, a 2001 Quartz Hill High School graduate whose father is executive director of a Christian camp and conference center in Lake Hughes, died in a December 2004 gunbattle.
Stewart grew up in Lake Hughes and attended Hughes Elizabeth Lakes Union School before going to Quartz Hill High. The middle one of three children, he helped with landscaping and groundskeeping work at The Oaks Conference and Retreat Center, where his family lived.
Copyright © 2006 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
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