PANISH FORK, UT, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, H&S CO (DET, 1ST PLT, C CO, 2D CEB, 2D MAR DIV), 1ST BN, 8TH MAR, 1ST MAR DIV
09/13/2004, AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ
Cesar Fabricio Machado-Olmos was not a United States citizen, but he still volunteered to serve the country where he had lived since he was a child. “One of the things that struck me the most about Fabricio was that he, without being forced or obligated, always did what he thought was right,” said family friend Salvador Zavala.
Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos had moved to the United States from Mexico with his family in 1989 and was pursuing citizenship. Patricia Acosta said her son called her every week during his deployment to Iraq. He always assured her everything would be fine. “I only told him he needs to be careful, he needs to be safe,” Mrs. Acosta said. “He said he was fine … He said he’ll be OK and he’ll come home. He said he was coming very soon.”
“… he must have loved this country to give his life,” Alberto Ornelas said. “Deep down, he knew this country had taken him in. That’s why he gave his life for it.”
Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos, in spirit was a citizen of two countries. He loved the United States, especially the mountains in his adopted state of Utah, where he went hiking, but like many immigrants, he never forgot Mexico and visited family there. In Utah, Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos was part of the immigrant Latter Day Saints community that belongs to what some refer to as “Barrio Spanish Fork.”
Maria Mejia a friend, remembered him as a devout member of the LDS Church. People spoke of Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos as if he were their own son and cried with the family in their grief. “I try to pray for all the soldiers,” she said. “But I especially prayed for him because I knew he found himself in that land. I know in my heart that he was a hero.”
Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos joined the Marine Corps on August 25, 2001,a few months after graduating from Spanish Fork High School.
“He was a gentle soul,” said Spanish Fork High School librarian Debbie Gardner. Gardner got to know Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos when he volunteered as a library assistant during his senior year. “He was kind, one of the most mannerly young men I knew.”
Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos took some unusual classes, including home economics. His manners and kind-hearted interests revealed a caring side of his character. Debbie Gardner said that in the 2001 year book Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos is pictured sewing with the caption, “It’s cool to show your sensitive side. He was a bright spot in his family,” she added.
Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos had an appreciation for literature and a desire to help others. He was also an avid history buff, as Gardner recalled, helping him look up facts about World War II. “He loved books,” Gardner said.
Knowing her son’s penchant for books, Mrs. Acosta, Machado-Olmos’ mother, recently sent him a book to read.
Debbie Gardner remembers asking Lance Corporal Machado-Olmos why he wanted to join the Marine Corps instead of going on to college. “Because they’re the best,” he replied. “That was the only answer I ever got.”