CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A Marine assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force was reported killed in Iraq.
Cpl. Christopher D. Leon, 20, of Lancaster, Calif., died on June 20 from wounds received in combat operations in Anbar province.
Leon, formerly with the 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, deployed from Okinawa to Iraq on Jan. 9. While there, he was assigned to the 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force. His duties included coordinating artillery, naval gunfire and close air support between the Marine Corps, Navy, Army and the armed forces of U.S. allies.
Leon’s personal decorations included the Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, according to a Marine Public Affairs news release.
Former co-workers and staff from Leon’s high school told the Los Angeles Daily News that the Marine was a quiet but friendly teen who had a strong desire to serve in the military.
Laura Adkins, his former manager at the Lancaster PetSmart, told the newspaper that just weeks ago Leon’s mother visited the store and talked about how much she was looking forward to her son’s return from Iraq.
Adkins described Leon as a hard-working and dependable employee, who always helped customers carry purchases out to their cars.
He was one of four Marines killed last week in combat action in the province. The Defense Department on Thursday also announced that three Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marines were killed.