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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maui man killed in Iraq joined Army 'to make his life better,' brother says

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

A Maui man who worked two hotel jobs and then joined the Army for a better life died in Iraq on Sunday, his brother said today.

Pfc. Charlie Antonio had been in the Army about a year and deployed from Colorado to Kuwait and then Iraq, his younger brother, Marlon, 25, said by phone.

Two soldiers came to the family's Kahului home early Monday morning to break the news, he said.

"Of course (we're) kind of shocked. It's like disbelief what happened," Marlon Antonio said.

His older brother "was a good person," he said. "He never smoked cigarettes or drank. What he (did) here before, he just worked, worked, worked. Two jobs. Two hotels."

Charlie Antonio had worked at the Grand Wailea Resort and the Four Seasons Maui, his brother said, but he was not sure what he did.

"He wanted to do anything just to make his life better" and that's why he joined the Army, his brother said.

The Pentagon said Antonio, 28, died in Annassar, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a "noncombat related incident." He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Carson, Colo.

The details of what happened in Iraq are still being sorted out, Marlon Antonio said.

"We only know that he died because of a gunshot. But we don't know yet about what really happened, (or) how it happened."

Charlie Antonio had gone to high school in the Philippines, his brother said. He came to Hawai'i around 1998, Marlon Antonio thought.

Separately, the Hawai'i National Guard said a wake service for one of its soldiers who also died in Iraq will be held on Friday.

Pfc. Raymond N. Pacleb, Jr., 31, of Pearl City, died on March 29 in Baghdad in what the Pentagon also classified as a "noncombat" incident.

Pacleb was a member of the Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

He volunteered to deploy with the Virginia Army National Guard's 229th Military Police Company as a unit supply specialist.

A wake will be held Friday at Mililani Downtown Mortuary at 20 S. Kukui St. The wake service will begin at 7 p.m. and the public viewing is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., officials said.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, also at Mililani Downtown Mortuary. Burial will be at 1:30 p.m. at Mililani Memorial Park.