A 19-year-old Filipino-American soldier enlisted with the United States Marines was killed in combat in Afghanistan last week, the US Department of Defense said.
Lance Cpl. Arden Joseph A. Buenagua of San Jose, California, died November 24 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. No other details were provided regarding his death.
Buenagua, who enlisted into the Marines after graduating from high school in 2009, was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, California.
On his Facebook profile page, Buenagua described himself as a gregarious young man who liked to make friends. He posted his last status message on September 30. "After a few days of traveling, we're finally gonna arrive in Afghan today," he wrote.
His mother, Marivic Ayuson Trinidad, a native of Marikina City who graduated from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in Manila in 1985, responded: "Pray, pray, and pray always ... and we're praying for ur SAFETY. GOD is always w/u all the time ... luv u so much -- MOM
Buenagua was not the first Fil-Am US Marine to be killed in Afghanistan. In July this year, 21-year-old Cpl. Dave Michael Maliksi Santos, who grew up in Cavite, was stabbed by a fellow soldier.
Pinoys in Afghanistan
Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, a number of Filipino civilians working at American military installations there had also been killed.
Last October, six Filipinos perished in a cargo plane crash. In July 2009, a civilian helicopter had problems taking off at the Khandahar airfield in Afghanistan and crashed, killing all its passengers, including 10 Filipino workers.
Manila has no embassy in Afghanistan, making it difficult for Philippine authorities to monitor the movement of Filipinos there.
The Philippines stopped sending workers to Afghanistan in 2007 because of the unstable security conditions here. Before the deployment ban, around 1,000 Filipinos have been working and residing there.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said many Filipino workers defy the deployment ban as they were lured by the high salaries offered by US contractors. - DM/KBK, GMANews.TV