AGUNGA, CA, U.S.A.
U.S. MARINE CORPS
LCPL,WPNS CO,2DBN ED MAR(RCT-7,I MEF FWD) 3D MARDIV, KANEOHE BAY, HI
11/25/2006, ALBU HAYATT, IRAQ
LCPL Jeromy West played football and baseball all four years at Hamilton High School near his hometown of Aguanga, CA, a rural area and horse country where West was well known, said his stepfather, Ron Klopf.
West played center and middle linebacker on the varsity football team.“He’s not a big guy, but he’s tough as hell, and that’s where they put him, in the middle,” Ron Klopf added.
LCPL West’s toughness and his determination entered into his choice to join the Marine Corps at the age of 17, three months short of his 18th birthday.
“He felt that would be the hardest (of the military services). He didn’t want to take anything easy.”Klopf explained.
Ron Klopf wisely explained his thoughts about Jeromy’s death. “We’re doing OK. We’re real proud of him. … When a kid that’s 20 years gets killed, it affects hundreds and hundreds of people, and when you mount it up to almost 3,000 (killed in Iraq), it’s like 300,000 that get affected. It’s one of those things where every single death affects a lot of people.”
Jeromy “did a great job in Iraq. He’s a hero.”
“I said I heard it might be calming down over there, and he said, ‘No, absolutely not.’
West and Klopf would go deep-sea fishing every time West visited California.
West decided against college in the short term, telling his stepfather he wasn’t ready for the coursework, and wanted to be in the Marines for four years before going to college and, hopefully, playing football.
“We allowed him to (join the Marines). He wanted to protect his country,” Ron Klopf said.“We just want to make sure everybody knows what a great kid he was.”