Army Sgt. Marcos Gorra
Died February 21, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
22, of North Bergen, N.J.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 21 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.
(The following was taken from www.northjersey.com of Feb. 26, 2010) NORTH BERGEN – An Army paratrooper who was weeks away from returning home died Sunday in Afghanistan in a training exercise at Kandahar Air Base, family members said.
Sgt. Marcos Gorra Sgt. Marcos Gorra, 22, of North Bergen was on his first tour in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Gorra was close to his parents and two siblings and wrote on his MySpace page that they were “by far, the most important thing in my life, my reason for living.”
Friends remembered him as a gregarious soul who would make friends with anyone.
He barely knew any English when he moved to the township with his family from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, when he was in elementary school. But it didn’t stop him from talking with everyone around him, said Vanessa Gomez, a grammar school classmate.
“He didn’t know anything about cliques or little groups, he just talked to everybody,” said Gomez, 22.
He was popular at North Bergen High School, where he played football and baseball in his freshman and sophomore years before turning his focus to the Army in his junior and senior years, his family said.
He was determined to serve his adopted county from an early age, despite his friends’ misgivings. Shareen Shibli, a high school friend, said he would even jokingly try to recruit his friends.
Gorra joined the Army in August 2006 after graduation and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. He served in Korea for a time. He was deployed to Afghanistan last April and would have been returning home in the next few weeks, Army officials and friends said.
While serving his country far from home, he kept up his friendships with people at home, cajoling them to stay up all night talking to him on the webcam, Gomez said.
Being so far away from his family wore on him, and Gorra started to look forward to December 2010, when his service was up.
“He was in Korea for a year without leave, and that was very hard to deal with,” said his younger sister Griselly Gorra.
When he was at Kandahar Air Base he would talk by Skype to his family, his sister said. “He would call on the phone and talk to each and every one of us,” she said.
Gorra was praised Thursday by Army officials for his “selflessness and professionalism.”
Gorra was part of a pathfinder team — a group that would be the first into an unsecured area and prepare it for forces that followed — that had a great deal of success in Afghanistan.
“Sergeant Gorra was a great soldier … who would get the job done right the first time, every time,” said 1st Sgt. Bruce Julius.
According to the Department of Defense Gorra died Sunday of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.
A memorial will be held in his honor in Afghanistan, Army officials said.