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Medic: ‘I did all I could’ for fallen Pfc. Suter

Community: Navy medic who tried to save local Marine apologizes to his family on Facebook

Posted: June 3, 2010 10:29 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Pfc. Jake William Suter

 

A U.S. Navy medic assigned to the same U.S. Marine Corps division as the late Pfc. Jake William Suter says he did all he could to help the local hero the day he died.

Chris Ayangco, a hospital corpsman now assigned to the 3rd Marine Division in Afghanistan, posted a note on Facebook on Wednesday, alongside scores of other messages of love and respect.

His Facebook posting reads: “I was one of the Navy Corpsman who tried to help PFC Suter the day it happened.

“I did all I could but it was too late. I think about it every day and each time I think about it I can’t stop crying on what else I could have done.

“Mr and Mrs. Unthank I am (truly) sorry for your loss and I hope you can heal as time goes... by. I’ll still be out here in Afghanistan taking care of my Marines until we all come back home. -HM2(FMF)Ayangco, Chris.”

Suter, 18, died early Saturday morning, Afghanistan time, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, which is in the northern part of the war-torn country.

On Monday, his body was flown to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Suter’s stepfather, Chris, and mother, Michelle Unthank, of Bates Place in Stevenson Ranch, went to Delaware to see their son but returned Tuesday night without his body.

Just prior to the candlelight vigil held in Suter’s honor Wednesday night, Suter’s stepfather, Chris Unthank, said military officials will answer questions about the death once their investigation is complete.

Major Alan F. Crouch, spokesman for the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, told The Signal on Thursday that Suter’s case is still under investigation and cautioned against reading too much into the fact that the Naval Criminal Investigations Service and Judge Advocate General are reportedly involved.

“It’s typical for the naval criminal investigators to investigate the circumstances surrounding a fatality aboard an installation (military base),” Crouch said.

Suter was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 111 Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Kaneohe Bay.

A couple of months before Ayangco joined the same Marine division, he posted a note of condolence for Navy Petty Officer James R. Layton, 22, of Riverbank, who died in Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009.

He wrote: “I’ve had the honor of knowing the guy briefly and the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country only gives me the drive to put 110% into my pre-deployment training before I go to Afghanistan early next year.”

A Facebook message left for Ayangco to contact The Signal was not answered by press time.

Suter is the 10th young U.S. Marine to die supporting combat operations in the Helmand province in the last month. British Marine Scott Gregory Taylor, of 40 Commando Royal Marines, also died in an explosion there one day after Suter died.

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