A Marine assigned to the Hawaii-based India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment pays his final respects to Cpl. Michael Estrella, a 20-year-old from Hemet, Calif., June 24, 2006, at a memorial service at the Marines’ base in Haditha, Iraq. Estrella was killed by enemy gunfire recently while on patrol with his platoon while searching for a suspected insurgent in western Al Anbar Province, Iraq. During the ceremony, Marines described Estrella as a “dedicated and professional Marine” who excelled at his job of being a radio operator. He often went without sleep to make sure his battalion had communication, the Marines said. Estrella was a 2003 graduate of Hemet High school and joined the Marine Corps in September 2003. He reported to 3rd Battalion in May 2004 and deployed with the unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom last year. His awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon. The Hawaii-based battalion, also known as “America’s Battalion,” arrived in March and will be replaced by another Hawaii-based Marine unit this fall. (Photo by Sgt. Roe F. Seigle)

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