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MILITARY DEATHS

Army Spc. Sergio Gudino, 22, Pomona; Killed in Bombing

January 29, 2006|From Associated Press

Army Spc. Sergio Gudino didn't have to return to Iraq after suffering a serious shoulder injury last fall, but he wanted to rejoin his unit, his brothers said.

That decision cost him his life.

The 22-year-old was killed on Christmas Day when a roadside bomb exploded near the tank he was driving during combat in Baghdad, the Defense Department said.

Gudino was married and had a 3-year-old son, Cyrus.

"He's not going to be here to see his son grow up," said Gudino's younger brother, Andrew, 18. "I'm going to miss him."

Gudino was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, Ga.

He was a straight-A student at Claremont High School and a strong athlete who participated in football, wrestling and track and field, Andrew Gudino said.

The family thought Gudino would go on to college and was surprised when he decided to marry his wife, Candy, in December 2001, shortly after graduating from high school.

When he learned he was going to be a father, Gudino focused on working and held down three jobs. He worked at a UPS warehouse, a sandwich shop and sold time shares, Andrew Gudino said.

He decided to become a soldier to better support his family, his brother said. The family learned of his intentions when an Army recruiter appeared at his wedding.

"Sergio is like a big ol' teddy bear," said Victor Gudino, 27, his eldest brother. "I knew he was a strong person, but I couldn't see my brother doing that -- shooting at people."

Sergio Gudino returned to Pomona from Iraq in the fall to recover from a serious shoulder injury that he said occurred when a large-caliber bullet accidentally discharged from a weapon, said his brother Eddie, 25.

His brothers asked him to consider not returning to Iraq, but he insisted on rejoining his unit, Eddie Gudino said.

"He liked what he was doing," Victor Gudino said. "He never seemed scared about anything."

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