FONTANA: "All that we regret is that his life was cut so short," his sister says.
By JULIE FARREN
Fernando Tamayo always wanted to be a Marine.
Alejandro Tamayo, 31, said his brother's favorite movie was "Full Metal Jacket." Adriana Zamayoa, 33, remembers her baby brother telling her two sons to give him 30 push-ups.
Mario Tamayo, 29, a former Marine, said it only took Fernando six months to become a lance corporal.
"He was born to wear the uniform," he said.
Fernando Tamayo, 19, of Fontana, died wearing that uniform Dec. 21 when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq's Anbar province. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based in Twentynine Palms.
His funeral is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Forest Lawn in Covina. After the Mass and military honors, Mario Tamayo Sr. said mariachi music will play in honor of his son.
The Tamayo family gathered Saturday to remember the young man they called Fernie, a 2005 Bloomington High School graduate.
Fernando always had a smile on his face. He was a loving young man who adored children, going to movies at Ontario Mills with his brothers and eating at Claim Jumper. He played baseball with the Southridge Little League and was a huge fan of the Dodgers.
Mario Sr. said Fernando was 17 when he enlisted last year in the Marines -- a decision he and his wife, Martha, supported.
The family said Fernando left for Iraq on Sept. 2, sad that he had to miss his brother Mario's wedding two weeks later.
But it was the day of Alejandro's wedding, Dec. 23, that the family's happiness turned to grief upon learning Fernando had been killed in Iraq.
Alejandro and his wife, Adriana, were married soon after.
"I was basically like a zombie," Alejandro Tamayo said. "I don't know how I got the strength to stand up there in the church, but I did it for my brother."
Mario Sr. said their lives will never be the same without Fernando but they are proud of their son and his patriotism.
"All that we regret is that his life was cut so short," his sister, Adriana, said.
Reach Julie Farren at 909-806-3066 or jfarren@PE.com
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