The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that more than 400 people lined a Danville road Monday to form a silent procession honoring Lance CPL Joshua D. Corral, who was killed in Afghanistan last week.
The Department of Defense announced Monday that Corral, 19, had died 18 Nov 11 while in combat in Helmand province.
The 2010 graduate of San Ramon Valley High School grew up in Danville and was known by most in town as Chachi, said family friend Don Busboom, an American government teacher at the high school.
“Anyone that met Chachi knew that they had encountered somebody who would always put a smile on their faces,” he said. “He was somebody that embraced life and made people feel good to be around him.”
The second oldest of four brothers, Corral was always active and playing sports, and had played on the school’s football team as a freshman, Busboom said.
Despite his young age, Corral knew he wanted to serve in the military, like his grandfather, whom he and his family called Colonel. He graduated first in his Marine Corps class and was his squad’s sweeper – he would go in front of the squad to sweep the area for improvised explosive devices, Busboom said.
“He was somebody who had lived his short life with a sense of purpose, and part of that purpose was to serve others,” he said.
Corral was on his first tour of duty.
Community members organized the procession as a way to greet the family, which was returning from Dover Air Force Base. Corral’s body will be flown back from Dover at a later date.
“We were just letting them know that the community is here for them,” said Turner Stanton, 16.
Busboom will lead a candlelight vigil at Oak Hill Park at 6 p.m. today.
He said what would always stick with him the most is Corral’s focus and sense of purpose.
“He was somebody who knew what he was doing,” he said. “He knew he would be willing to sacrifice his life so people like you and I could live. For somebody that’s 19, that’s a powerful statement.”
Lance CPL Corral is the 1,842nd American killed in Afghanistan … Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden