LCpl Juan C. Venegas, 21
Simi Valley, CA
Venegas died as a result of a vehicle accident while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Venegas was attached to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Died on April 7, 2005.
Juan Venegas planned to become a firefighter after returning home from his second tour of duty as a Marine in Iraq, and he dreamed of becoming a professional boxer.
But Venegas, 21, of Simi Valley, Calf., died April 7 in a vehicle accident. He was stationed at Twentynine Palms, Calif.
"He was unstoppable to me, like a machine," said Venegas' 19-year-old sister, Erica. "I really looked up to him."
Venegas met his fiancee, Mariam Khoury, 23, in 2003 through mutual friends after Venegas had enlisted. She said Venegas wanted the couple to have a perfect wedding.
"With us it was beyond love; we were soulmates," she said.
Barbara Hatton, interim principal at Venegas' high school, said his name will be added to a plaque encased in glass in the school library that contains the names of other fallen soldiers stretching back to World War II.
"It's just so sad," she said. "For his family, for our school and the community."