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In Memoriam

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LCpl. Adam Kaiser

(reprinted from SunTimes.com, December 4, 2005)

Naperville Marine among dead in bombing
December 4, 2005

Two of the 10 Marines killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq on Thursday were from Illinois, including a 2004 graduate of Naperville Central High School.

Lance Cpl. Adam W. Kaiser, 19, of Naperville, had been interested in the military for years before he joined. Kaiser, who held a black belt in tae kwon do, chose the Marine Corps because he believed it presented the toughest challenge, said his father, Wade Kaiser.

“He offered his life for his country when called on for him to give it,” Wade Kaiser said, his voice cracking. “I can’t be any more proud of him.”

Thursday’s bombing was the deadliest attack on American troops in Iraq in four months. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Andrew G. Patten, 19, of Byron, which is just south of Rockford, and eight others. A roadside bomb exploded while they were on a foot patrol near Fallujah. Eleven others were wounded.

The team was conducting “counterinsurgency operations throughout Fallujah and the surrounding area” to improve security for the Dec. 15 elections, the military said.

In addition to his dad, Kaiser is survived by his twin sister, Amanda; sister, Sarah; and mother, Christine. He joined the Marines shortly after graduating from Naperville Central.

Mike Pine said Kaiser, his best friend, “was a hard guy to dislike.” Pine said Kaiser “had been dedicated to [joining the service] for his entire life.”

“From the very beginning, he always wanted to do it,” Pine said. “He was always talking about it.”

Hyun Wuk Chung, Kaiser’s tae kwon do master for five years, said Kaiser was an excellent student. “He was almost mine,” he said. “He was like my stepson. I am so sad.”

The military said Patten is survived by his father, Alan, and mother, Gayle Nachansky, of Byron.

Kaiser joined the Marine Corps in October 2004 and Patten joined in August 2004. They both served as riflemen and were deployed to Iraq in July.

Kaiser and Patten were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. The unit was attached to the Regimental Combat Team 8, which is part of the II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The unit has suffered some of the highest casualties of the Iraq war. In the nearly three years since the war began, 147 Marines from II MEF have died in combat, according to 2nd Marine Division spokesman Lt. Barry Edwards.

“Words will never describe accurately the honor, courage and commitment of these fallen Marines and sailors,” 7th Marine Regiment commanding officer Col. William B. Crowe said in a statement. “These men did not give their lives in vain, and we will not soon forget our fellow brothers.”