Capitol site will honor Iraq vets - East Valley Tribune: News

Capitol site will honor Iraq vets

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Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 7:08 am | Updated: 1:31 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Gov. Janet Napolitano announced plans Monday to build a memorial at the state Capitol to honor the Arizonans who served and died in the Iraq war.

In an address at a Memorial Day event at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in northeast Phoenix, Napolitano said she issued an executive order forming a committee to oversee the memorial’s creation.

Memorials "tell future generations the stories of bravery and sacrifice of those who never came home," she said.

Napolitano said Patrick Chorpenning, director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, will head the committee, made up of veterans, legislators, residents and the families of the fallen service members. Napolitano asked the committee to design the memorial and to decide how best to honor the deceased along with all those who served in the conflict.

‘‘Each thought they had more of their lives ahead of them than behind them,’’ Napolitano said of the five people with Arizona connections who died in the war in Iraq.

The five to be honored are Marine Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez of San Luis, Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams of Phoenix, Marine Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin, a pilot from Maine stationed in Yuma, Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa of Tuba City and Navy Lt. Nathan D. White of Mesa.

White, 30, was killed when his F/A-18C Hornet was shot down over Iraq.

He lived in Mesa for about two years but had also resided in Utah and Texas.

Padilla-Ramirez, 26, was killed in action while conducting convoy operations near Nasiriyah.

Williams, 31, was killed in an ambush near Nasiriyah.

Aubin, 36, was among 12 killed when their helicopter crashed in Kuwait.

Piestewa, 23, also killed near Nasiriyah, is believed to be the first American Indian woman killed in combat while serving in the U.S. military.

A Phoenix mountain peak and freeway have already been renamed in her honor.

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