Waipahu Marine dies in crash in Iraq
By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Karen Blakeman
A 21-year-old Marine killed Monday in "non-hostile action" in Iraq has been identified by the Department of Defense as another of Hawai'i's own.
Marine Private Lewis T.D. Calapini, assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., was killed in a vehicle accident near Al Taqaddum. The Waipahu man was assigned to an anti-terrorist unit.
The Department of Defense reported he was killed alongside another Marine, Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Scott, 24, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.
Details about the incident were sketchy yesterday.
"All we know at this point is that it was a ground vehicle and it was a non-hostile action," said Maj. Cliff Gilmore, a Marine spokesman in North Carolina. "We're investigating to determine the specific cause."
Calapini's death brings to at least 52 the number of Marines, soldiers and sailors with ties to Hawai'i who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past year.
Family members at the Cala-pini home, a neat, well-kept house behind a decorative black fence on a dead-end street in Waipahu, said yesterday they did not want to talk with reporters.
"We want to remain private," said a man who called out from behind the home's screen door.
A secretary at Waipahu High School said Calapini attended from 2000 to 2002, but did not graduate from that school.
1st Lt. Pamela Marshall, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i at Kane'ohe Bay, said Calapini joined the Marines in May 2004.
Both Marines killed were assigned to the Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune.
The 4th MEB (Anti-Terrorism) became operational on Oct. 29, 2001, in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The unit's mission is "rapidly deployable, specially trained, sustainable forces in order to detect, deter and defend against the threat of terrorist activities, and to conduct initial incident response in the event of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high yield explosive terrorist attacks worldwide," according to the 4th MEB Web site.
As of yesterday, at least 2,235 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Reach Karen Blakeman at email@example.com.