Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Ming Sun

Cathedral City, California

January 9, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Army Pfc

1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

Fort Carson , Colorado

 Killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq , when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat patrol operations.


My name is Lee Wilson Jr., USMC 81-93, and I am a world history teacher at Cathedral City High School, California. I was Ming Sun's teacher his sophomore year.

Ming Sun, a 2004 CCHS graduate died in Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, Tuesday January 9, 2007. Ming was 20 years old. He leaves behind a father, mother and nine year old sister. Ming was a good kid, the kind of kid that every teacher wants to have.

From The Desert Sun, Palm Springs CA 01/18/07:

Slain soldier honored at his high school

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Ming Sun Memorial Ceremony
Cathedral City High School Junior ROTC color guard marches with flags to the school's flagpoles during a special ceremony to honor the fallen soldier on Wednesday in Cathedral City.

Taya Kashuba Gray, The Desert Su
Cathedral City High School Junior ROTC color guard marches with flags to the school's flagpoles during a special ceremony to honor the fallen soldier on Wednesday in Cathedral City.

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# Video: Memorial for a Cathedral City soldier

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RaNeeka J. Claxton
The Desert Sun
January 18, 2007
David Sun stood hand-in-hand with family Wednesday morning at Cathedral City High School's flagpole.

Tears streaming down her face, wife Zhi Feng Liu leaned her head on a relative's shoulder.

Their 9-year-old daughter, Allison, looked on with innocent eyes.

The family was there to remember their only son and big brother - 20-year-old 2004 graduate and fallen U.S. Army soldier Ming Sun. He died Jan. 9 in Ramadi, Iraq, of wounds from an enemy rifle or pistol while on combat patrol.

About 75 people were there to remember, as well - including Mayor Kathy DeRosa, high school principal Guillermo Chavez and members of the local Patriot Guard Riders, who pay respect to all fallen U.S. servicemen.

ROTC cadets stood at attention during the five-minute ceremony.

"There will be no speeches today," said Col. Steven Price, ROTC lead instructor. "This is simply a way of honoring a fine young man. This is their (the family's) day, and their son's day."

After a 30-second moment of silence, a voice sang the Star-Spangled Banner over the school's loudspeaker. American flags flew at half-staff.

As the Cathedral City family deals with the pain of their loss, the elder Sun said he can't figure out why President Bush continues to put young soldiers with limited experience on the front lines.

"They're too young," the 45-year-old said. "They are not ready."

Ming Sun enlisted in the Army at the end of March 2006, and went to Fort Carson, Colo., in mid-August to join the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Two months later, he was deployed to Iraq.

Sun remembered the last telephone conversation he had with his son. It was Jan. 5, four days before his death. He'd just e-mailed the family a few pictures. When his father said they weren't enough, Ming Sun said he'd take more.

"He said he was leaving in two hours to go back in to operation," Sun said. "And he said 'I'll be home in early February to visit.' He was happy. He was a soldier."

Sun said his son wanted a military career after Sept. 11 so he could defend his country.

His son came to the United States from China on a green card when he was 8.

"They will grant him citizenship now," he said.

Eddie Torno and Tristan Reparejo, both 20 of Cathedral City, each wore a black T-shirt with Ming Sun's picture silk-screened on the front to the ceremony. They had been friends with Sun since middle school.

"It was a lot of disbelief for me," Reparejo said. "I thought it was a joke. He was a real strong kid.

"This (memorial) means that Ming did what he wanted to do. We're going to miss that guy so much," he said, tears welling in his eyes.

Sun's body will arrive at Palm Springs International Airport on Saturday morning, said Maj. Michael Cepe, a casualty officer for the U.S. Army.

Funeral services are pending because extended family in China are trying to obtain expedited visas, Cepe has said.

Sun will be buried at the Riverside National Cemetery.

He is the second U.S. serviceman from the valley killed on duty in the recent war in Iraq.

The first was Jesus Angel Gonzalez, a U.S. Marine from Indio, who died April 12, 2003. He was 22.

Pfc. David Kramer from the valley was killed in Iraq in 1991.

The day after Ming Sun's death, Bush said he was increasing U.S. troops by 21,500 to quell Iraq's near-anarchy.

"Bush should let the Iraqi people defend their country," Sun's father said. "Our job is done. We won victory when we captured Saddam Hussein. I hope he brings troops back home as soon as possible, and don't damage happy families anymore."

As of Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Defense reported 3,013 U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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