LCpl. Jeromy West
(reprinted from la.indymedia.org, November 28, 2006)
Local Marine, Lance Cpl. Jeromy D. West, Killed in Iraq
Inland Marine killed in Iraq
CASUALTY: The man, who joined the Corps at 17, is killed in Al Anbar province.
10:00 PM PST on Monday, November 27, 2006
By MEGHAN LEWIT and SEAN NEALON
A fifth graduate of Hemet district schools has been killed in Iraq.
Lance Cpl. Jeromy D. West, 20, of Aguanga, died Saturday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, according to a Department of Defense news release.
His home in Aguanga had a shrine to him near the driveway and a front yard decorated with American and Marine Corps flags.
Aguanga, a hilly, rural area south of Hemet and east of Temecula on the Riverside-San Diego County border, is part of the Hemet Unified School District. West graduated at 17 from Hamilton High School in Anza.
After graduating, West told his mother, Lisa West, and his stepfather, Ron Klopf, that he wanted to join the Marine Corps. They signed the papers to allow Jeromy to join the Marines before his 18th birthday.
“He wanted to be the one to take care of us. He tried to be the man of the house,” Lisa West said. West often told her son that she missed his face, so he would get pictures of himself and would e-mail them to her cell phone.
Jeromy West was stationed in Hawaii and had served a tour in Afghanistan before being sent to Iraq Sept. 11.
West’s younger sister, Brandi, 18, was the only one home Saturday when two Marines and a Navy chaplain arrived to say Jeromy had died.
“He was just my hero,” Brandi said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better brother.”
Four Hemet High School graduates have been killed in the fighting in Iraq. Three have died since June, two in October.
Hamilton High Principal Jim Allured said West graduated before he came to the school, but had heard from others that West was “just a really, really good kid” who was active in student government and athletics.
West was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, the release stated.
The first death of a Hemet High graduate came in January 2004, when Army Spc. Jason Chappell, 22, died in a roadside bomb attack. Marine Cpl. Michael Estrella, 20, died last June when his patrol came under enemy fire.
Twenty-year-old Army Pfc. Kenny Francis Stanton Jr.’s death came Oct. 13, and just 10 days later, Navy Corpsman Charles Otto “Otter” Sare, 23, was killed. Both died in roadside bombings.
Twenty-nine Riverside County residents have died during the fighting in Iraq — 1 percent of U.S. deaths since the war began. Fifty-three Inland residents have died in Iraq since 2003.