Friday, April 13, 2012

R.I.P. - Lance Cpl. Ramon T. Kaipat

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Lance Cpl. Ramon T. Kaipat, 22, of Tacoma, Wash., died April 11 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

            For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.

By Haidee V. Eugenio

The late Marine is the son of Pete Somorang Kaipat and Sinforosa Taisakan Kaipat, both now living in Tacoma, Washington.

“The last time I saw him was in 2005 before he left for the States. I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do or think when I heard the news that our nephew was killed. I just wish I was there with my sister during this time,” Kaipat’s aunt Maria Taisakan told Saipan Tribune in an interview shortly before the family was to bury another member of the family on Saipan yesterday afternoon.

Taisakan, 42, is the youngest sister of the late Marine’s mother.

She and their relatives on Saipan were preparing for the funeral of her aunt, Catalina I. Kapileo, a sister of her father, when they got a call late Wednesday night.

“I couldn’t express my feelings because we’re in the middle of preparations for the burial of my aunt when we heard of another death in the family,” Taisakan said in an interview at her late aunt’s house in San Jose.

Taisakan said the late Marine and his family used to live in Garapan before they left for Washington State.
Kaipat is one of three children. He has a younger brother and an older sister.
Taisakan said her nephew attended Oleai Elementary School, Hopwood Junior High School, and Marianas High School.

“But he completed his high school in Tacoma. Then he entered the Marines,” Taisakan said.
‘Helpful, caring’
Taisakan said her nephew was “very helpful and caring.”

“I miss his smile. Even if you scold him, he’d smile and apologize. We have a tight family. We look after each other; and my nephew was very helpful and caring. We will all miss him,” the teary-eyed Taisakan said.

She said as of yesterday afternoon, her sister, brother-in-law, and Kaipat’s sister and brother were on their way to Maryland to greet the body and bring it to Tacoma, Washington where the late Marine may be buried.

“Now, we are holding the rosary for two of our family members,” Taisakan added.
Her sister, former representative Malua Peter, confirmed Thursday morning that they received the news of Kaipat’s death around 11:30pm Wednesday night, Saipan time.

“I really don’t know what to feel. It’s sad, especially right now I am in the wake of another relative,” Peter, also a former member of Northern Marianas College’s Board of Regents, told Saipan Tribune Thursday morning.
Peter’s younger sister is the mother of Kaipat.

‘A hero’
The U.S. Marine Corps extended its “heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of our fellow Marine who have suffered this loss and is committed to providing full support for their needs.”
Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Ind-MP), upon hearing the news, said he’s “saddened to learn of the loss of another of our own in the war in Afghanistan.”

“Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ramon Taisacan Kaipat, a hero, gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. I know that there is little that I can say that will lessen Lance Corporal Kaipat’s family for the pain and grief of a loss so overwhelming, but I extend my condolences and deepest sympathies to the family for the loss of their son and for their own sacrifices.
“May God bless Lance Corporal Kaipat and the Taisacan and Kaipat families,” Sablan added.
Taisakan said that Kaipat was just one of her many relatives serving in the U.S. military.
“In fact, one of my brothers’ son just came back from Afghanistan last month,” she said.

CNMI mourns
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, upon learning of Kaipat’s passing, said with great sadness and heavy hearts, they join the CNMI people in mourning “the loss of one of our own sons in uniform, USMC Lance Corporal Ramon Taisakan Kaipat.”

Fitial and Inos, in a statement, said Kaipat, in choosing a career in the prestigious U.S. Marine Corps, “demonstrated his willingness and determination to live a life of discipline and personal sacrifice so that all citizens of our country would be able to live in freedom and security.”
“In choosing this noble path in his life, he exemplified his undeniable strength of character and his patriotic courage and fortitude to carry through,” they said.

The governor and lieutenant governor said, “From his humble beginnings as an island boy, to his service on the international warfront, Lance Corporal Kaipat lived his life on the principles of duty, honor, and country.”

“In this time of sorrow, we extend our sincerest condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Lance Corporal Kaipat. Rest assured that his life of service to defend our freedom, our Commonwealth, and our country, will not be forgotten,” Fitial and Inos added.
Rep. Ray Yumul (R-Saipan) said his deepest sympathy goes to the bereaved family. Yumul himself was deployed to the Middle East as a member of the 442nd Division of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 100th Infantry Battalion.

“He sacrificed his life to protect the citizens of Afghanistan and defend against this war on terrorism. We should never forget his sacrifice,” Yumul said.

Besides Kaipat, the 15 other men and women from the CNMI who lost their lives while serving in the wars against terror include: Army Sgt. Yihgyh “Eddie” L. Chen (April 4, 2004), Army SSgt. Wilgene Lieto (Oct. 31, 2005), Army Spc. Derence W. Jack (Oct. 31, 2005), Army Sgt. Jesse J. Castro (Dec. 6, 2006), Marine LCpl Adam Q. Emul (Jan. 29, 2007), Army SPC Leeroy A. Camacho (Feb. 9, 2007), Army PFC John D. Flores (May 3, 2007), Army PFC Victor M. Fontanilla (May 17, 2007), Army Spc. Joe Junior G. Charfauros (June 20, 2007), Navy Seaman Anamarie San Nicolas Camacho (Oct. 22, 2007), Army Sgt. Brian S. Leon Guerrero (July 10, 2008), Army SSgt. Julian F. Manglona (Oct. 9, 2008), and Air Force SrA Audra P.M. Winkfield (June 19, 2009), Marine Cpl. Dave Michael Maliksi Santos (2010), and Sgt. George Joseph Affatica Sablan (Feb. 10, 2012).
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