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500th Californian killed in Mideast

June 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 19-year-old Navy corpsman from Hemet has become the 500th Californian to lose his life in since war began in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marc Retmier was killed in a rocket attack in northern Afghanistan. Retmier was just two weeks away from coming home on leave.A number of homes on Colby Street in Hemet display large American flags. One is at the home of Steve and Joy Retmier. The Retmier's son, 19-year-old Marc, a Navy corpsman was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan.

"His dream was to become a doctor," said Corpsman Retmier's father, Steve. "And that was why he was in the military -- to get trained."

Corpsman Retmier was scheduled to come home on leave next month.

"July 4, he was coming home," said his tearful mother, Joy. "And when he called me, he said, 'Mom, I want us to do a family vacation. I want us to all be together and do a vacation.' And I said, 'Okay, we'll plan something, Marc. We'll plan something and do a family vacation.'"

His family felt their son was safer in Afghanistan than serving in Iraq.

"We always knew there was danger, being over in those countries, but people were often telling us, 'Hey, you'd father have him in Afghanistan than in Iraq,'" said Steve.

The sadness that fills the Retmier home has unfortunately been experienced by 10 other families in the Hemet area in the past two years.

The corpsman's brother, Matthew, is 17 years old and is going to graduate next Spring.

"I do not want him to go in the military. Absolutely not. I can't go through this again," said Joy.

Marc Retmier will be laid to rest on Wednesday, June 25, in Corona Del Mar.

 

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