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Obituaries | MILITARY DEATHS

2 Californians among 3 troops killed in explosion

Army Spc. Ronnie G. Madore Jr., 34, San Diego

March 04, 2007|Rich Connell | Times Staff Writer

He grew up the son of a career Marine, but it was a surprise seven years ago when Ronnie G. Madore Jr. walked into the family home in San Diego and announced that he was becoming a soldier.

He hadn't talked about joining the military as a child. But at 27, working for Wal-Mart, he was weighing his future and turned to the Army.

"He decided that one day," recalled his father, Ronnie G. Madore Sr., who served for 24 years in the Marine Corps. "Once he went in and got out of boot camp, he really enjoyed it. Several times, we talked that he'd probably make it a career."

Stocky and muscular, Madore was a quiet, gentle joker, a man of simple but firm principles, relatives said.

"He always watched out for the underdog," his father said. "He didn't like people messing with other people."

He carried that ethos into the Army, where "he believed in what he was doing," his father said.

But after being sent to Iraq on a third tour of duty last year, he told family members that he would not reenlist.

"He just got tired of it," said his fiancee, Rochelle Goldberg, who lived with Madore in Killeen, Texas, near his home base at Ft. Hood, where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

Madore was looking forward to marrying, working in law enforcement and raising his new family, including a 4-month-old son, Ronnie G. Madore III.

On Feb. 14, in the provincial capital of Baqubah, a hotbed of insurgent activity on the edge of the Sunni Triangle, Madore was dispatched with a team from the 1st Calvary Division to recover a disabled military vehicle. A roadside bomb exploded near the convoy, killing Madore, Staff Sgt. Carl L. Seigart, 32, of San Luis Obispo and Sgt. John D. Rode, 24, of Pineville, N.C.

A specialist who repaired and recovered vehicles, Madore had received a Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds suffered during his second deployment to Iraq, when his unit operated in another insurgent hot zone: the Sadr City section of Baghdad.

Before he was ordered back to the Middle East late last year, Madore savored the time he had with his new son, his fiancee said. "He was a very good father." He last saw family members during a Christmas visit before returning to Iraq in January.

Madore's mother, Connie, said her son was "a comic book kid" who built a large collection as the family moved between military stations in Southern California and Hawaii, where he attended high school. She said he would spend hours on his computer and buy expensive masks of heroes and villains from "Star Wars" films. "He loved kids," she said. "He was nothing but a big kid himself."

In addition to his parents, fiancee and son, Madore is survived by a sister, Misty; Goldberg's son, Mathayus; and two nieces. Services were Wednesday at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma, Calif.

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rich.connell@latimes.com

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