Thursday, August 26, 2004

'His Scream' Father learns death of soldier son in Iraq

'His Scream’

Marine’s Father Burns Van, Himself After Learning of Son’s Death in Iraq

H O L L Y W O O D, Fla., Aug. 26, 2004— Melida Arredondo said her husband, Carlos Arredondo, immediately fell apart when he saw three Marines approaching his home.

"My husband immediately knew that his firstborn son had been killed," Arredondo said on ABC News' Good Morning America.

The three Marines showed up at Arredondo's home to inform the family that Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, 20, had died Tuesday in Najaf.
What happened next shocked the Marines and Arredondo's neighbors.
After getting the news, Carlos Arredondo walked into the garage, picked up a propane tank, a lighting device and a can of gasoline. He then proceeded to set the Marines' van ablaze while he was inside.

"I went to pieces and my husband, as you know, went to pieces and basically tried to accompany his son," Melida Arredondo, Alex's stepmother, said.

The Marines were eventually able to pull Carlos Arredondo from the burning vehicle. While they extinguished the flames that had engulfed him, the distraught father still suffered burns over as much as 50 percent of his body.

Arredondo, 44, was initially taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. He was later moved to the major burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, about 20 miles south of Hollywood.

He was listed in serious condition with severe burns to his arms and legs.
The Marines, reservists who are members of a military Casualty Assistance Calls Officer team, were not injured, but the van was completely gutted.

"Every reaction is negative, it's the loss of a loved one and I don't think any of us are qualified to go into the depths of the mind and truly anticipate how somebody is going to react," Marines spokesman Maj. Scott Mack said.
Melida Arredondo said her husband's reaction was about more than just sheer emotion.

"This was his scream that his Chi-Chi — that's what he called Alex — this is his scream that his child is dead and the war needs to stop," she said. Authorities say they are concerned about Arredondo's recovery right now. It's unclear whether he will be charged with any crime.

U.S. forces in Najaf have been battling for nearly five months against Iraqi militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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