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LCpl Hector Ramos was killed Jan. 26 when the CH-53E helicopter in which he was riding crashed near Rutbah, Iraq. An investigation found that the crew of the CH-53E became disoriented when weather turned bad, did not realize the helicopter was banking to the left, and flew the aircraft into the ground. Twenty-nine Marines and one sailor also were killed.
The Marines lost from BLT 1/3 in the helicopter crash were:
1st Lt. Travis J. Fuller, 26, a native of Granville, Mass.
1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney, 30, a native of Viellejo, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland, 26, from Westion, Wyo.
Sgt. Michael W. Finke Jr., 28, from Huron, Ohio
Cpl. Richard A. Gilbert Jr., 26, a native of Montgomery, Ohio
LCpl. Stephen P. Johnson, 24, from Covina, Calif.
Cpl. Timothy A. Knight, 22, a native of Brooklyn, Ohio
Cpl. Timothy M. Gibson, 23, from Hillsborough, N.H.
Cpl. Sean P. Kelly, 23, from Gloucester, N.J.
Cpl. Kyle J. Grimes, 21, a native of North Hampton, Penn.
Cpl. Nathaniel K. Moore, 22, from Champaign, Ill.
Cpl. James L. Moore, 24, a native of Roseburg, Ore.
Cpl. Nathan A. Schubert, 22, from Cherokee, Iowa
Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, 24, a native of West Valley, Utah
Petty Officer 3rd Class John D. House, 28, from Ventura, Calif.
LCpl. Brian C. Hopper 21, a native of Wynne, Ark.
LCpl. Jonathan E. Etterling, 22, from Wheelersburg, Ohio
LCpl. Fred L. Maciel, 20, a native of Spring, Texas
LCpl. Allan Klein, 34, from Clinton Township, Mich.
LCpl. Gael Saintvil, 24, a native of Orange, Fl.
LCpl. Mourad Ragimov, 20, from San Diego, Calif.
LCpl. Rhonald Rairdan, 20, a native of San Antonio, Texas
LCpl. Saeed Jafarkhani-turshizi, 25, from Fort Worth, Texas
LCpl Hector Ramos, 20, a native of Aurora, Ill.
LCpl. Darrell J. Schumann, 25, from Hampton, Va.
LCpl. Joseph P. Spence, 24, from Scotts Valley, Calif.
LCpl. Michael L. Starr Jr., 21, a native of Baltimore, Md.
Four Marines from HMM-361 also lost their lives;
Captain Paul Alaniz
Capt. Lyle Gordon
Staff Sgt. Dexter Kimble
LCpl. Tony Hernandez
Lance Cpl. Hector Ramos, 20, of Aurora, Ill., was an honors art and drama student at East Aurora High School who joined the Marines in August 2003. Clayton A. Muhammad, spokesman for East Aurora High School, which Ramos attended, said: "For the school district, it is like we've lost a member of our family. It's the first time for us." A moment of silence was held yesterday at East Aurora High School, Oak Park Elementary and Simmons Middle School, which is attended by Ramos' 11-year-old brother. Nancy Ramos said her son, who was deployed to Iraq last September, planned to marry when he came home from Iraq, possibly in June. He met his fiancee, Jessica Jimenez, in high school. Ramos spoke to his mother by phone before his last mission. "I knew something was happening to him," his mother said. "He told me, 'I just have a cold. It's nothing.'" When she suggested her son report his illness to his superiors, Ramos told her: "Fever's not going to stop me. I'm not a wimp. I'm a Marine."