Marine Pfc. Jake W. Suter
Died May 29, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
18, of Los Angeles; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; died May 29 at Patrol Base Jangeali, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.
(The following was taken from www.the-signal.com of June 5, 2010) Friends, family and community members gathered Saturday to remember U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jake William Suter as a devoted troop and faithful son during memorial services honoring the late 18-year-old Stevenson Ranch resident who died recently in Afghanistan.
“We’re grateful for Jake, and his courage and his bravery, and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our freedoms and our country,” Suter’s aunt, April Hatch, told a crowd of about 300 during a service at The Church of Latter-day Saints in Valencia.
Suter, 18, died May 29 Afghanistan time, less than a week after arriving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Suter died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
During the church service, loved ones paid tribute to the West Ranch High School graduate who enjoyed playing football and writing. His passion and dedication for football earned him the Wildcat Spirit Award at West Ranch, family members said.
“Your writing was profound, but it was your gift of speech that drew everyone in,” aunt Laura Gibbons said of Suter during the eulogy.
Other speakers reflected on Suter’s ability to connect with youngsters, and how he often served as a mentor.
“Jake was so gentle and sweet with my children,” friend Nathan Ure said. “And they were crazy for him.”
Ure recalled when Suter came back to church after enlisting in boot camp at 17. He remembered Suter as a proud Marine.
“I know he stirred patriotism inside everyone that day,” Ure said.
A second community memorial was held at Jake Kuredjian Park in Stevenson Ranch, which gave special recognition to Suter’s stepfather, Chris, and his mother, Michelle Unthank. Before gathering at the park, local residents lined the streets of Stevenson Ranch to wave American flags.
Underneath bright blue skies, military officials gave a 21-gun salute in Suter’s honor as Suter’s family sat by a banner with their son’s picture and the phrase ”American Hero. God bless you and your family.”
Local leaders like Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar honored Suter for his service.
“Even though we had not met Jake, we all loved him,” Kellar told the hundreds of kids and families, many who waved American flags. “We loved him because Jake represented what is right with America.”
Aside from Saturday’s memorials and a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, a private burial service will take place out of state.