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Utah Marine Carlos Aragon remembered as good friend, brother

Published: Thursday, Aug. 27 2015 3:31 p.m. MDT

Marines carry the casket of  Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon to a hearse following Aragon's funeral March 6, 2010 in Lehi, Utah. (Keith Johnson, Deseret News) Marines carry the casket of Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon to a hearse following Aragon's funeral March 6, 2010 in Lehi, Utah. (Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

Lance Cpl. Carlos A. Aragon was remembered as a quiet man who didn't like the spotlight, was a good friend and liked doing things the hard way.

"He didn't like going up the trail at Bridal Veil Falls," said Brad Halliday, Aragon's stepfather, during Aragon's funeral Saturday in Lehi. "He went straight up the mountain the hard way. That's the way he liked things."

Halliday said he had encouraged Aragon to enlist in the Air Force. Aragon chose the Marines because it was more of a challenge.

"That's the way he liked things," Halliday said.

Aragon, 19, was killed Monday in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Following the service, he was buried with military honors by members of the United States Marine Corps at Veterans Memorial Park near Camp Williams.

Ammon Tanner, 8, salutes as the funeral procession for Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon drives down 500 West in Lehi on Saturday.   (Keith Johnson, Deseret News) Ammon Tanner, 8, salutes as the funeral procession for Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon drives down 500 West in Lehi on Saturday. (Keith Johnson, Deseret News)

Eduardo Ochoa, one of Aragon's two older brothers, said Aragon was prepared for a life of adventure at an early age.

"We were 12 and 10 years older than he was, so when he was 2 years old, we would put him on a skateboard and launch him down the sidewalk," Eduardo Ochoa said.

Armando Ochoa said his younger brother was proud of his Latin heritage. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and moved with his family to Orem when he was 5. He was also thoughtful about his mother.

Halliday said his wife, Rosa, would receive flowers from Aragon on Mother's Day after he entered the military. The family learned later he had arranged for the deliveries before he left.

"He helped me to be a better man, a better husband, a better father and a better friend," Halliday said. "And he did it by example."

Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon in the summer of 2009 stands beside a light armored vehicle typical of what he drove and repaired. Aragon, of Orem, was killed when he triggered an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Afghanistan on March 1. He was laid to rest on Saturday.  (Halliday Family Photo) Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon in the summer of 2009 stands beside a light armored vehicle typical of what he drove and repaired. Aragon, of Orem, was killed when he triggered an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Afghanistan on March 1. He was laid to rest on Saturday. (Halliday Family Photo)

Robert Gardner, who was Aragon's bishop in his ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when Aragon lived in Orem, said as a young man Aragon was passionate about skateboarding; his guitar; old cars; and his long, curly hair. But he didn't have a need to be noticed.

"He was a quiet, humble young man. He didn't need any fame. He didn't need any glory. He didn't like to speak in front of people," Gardner said.

Gardner mentioned an incident where Aragon was helping a friend who had suffered a fender-bender tape the damaged hood down so the car could be driven to a mechanic.

"But he did more than that. He made sure the car looked as good as it could, then with the duct tape he put a big smiley face on the front of the car," Gardner said. "What a wonderful way to turn a negative experience into something his friend would remember for the rest of his life."

Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon poses with his stepfather, Brad Halliday, and his mother, Rosa, at his Marine graduation. Aragon was killed when he triggered an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Afghanistan on March 1. He was laid to rest on Saturday. (Halliday Family Photo) Lance Cpl. Carlos Aragon poses with his stepfather, Brad Halliday, and his mother, Rosa, at his Marine graduation. Aragon was killed when he triggered an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Afghanistan on March 1. He was laid to rest on Saturday. (Halliday Family Photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, praised the sacrifice of Aragon and his family.

"This country is great because of people like Carlos who, at a very young age, step up and do the brave thing," he said.

Aragon, who graduated from Mountain View High School in 2008 and enlisted in the Marine Reserves immediately after graduation, was killed when he triggered an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol. He was assigned to the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in the Marine Forces Reserve base at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

A second member of the platoon, Nigel Olsen, 21, who was living in Salem but had graduated from Mountain View High School in 2007, was killed Wednesday in the same area of Afghanistan.

e-mail: mhaddock@desnews.com

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