|Birth: ||Jun. 25, 1980|
|Death: ||Aug. 3, 2005, Iraq|
Miami U. grad killed in Iraq
By Chris Dumond and Ken-Yon Hardy
BUTLER COUNTY — Families in two Butler County cities are mourning the death of Lance Cpl. Michael Cifuentes, 25, of Oxford who was killed Wednesday in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.
Family and friends gathered at the Hamilton home of Cifuentes' fiancee, Tara Reynolds, Wednesday afternoon shortly after learning of his death from military officials.
"They came out to the house and they just waited for her to get home," Reynold's sister, Carolyn Saurber, said. "She just found out a few hours ago. We all did. We don't know what to say or think. It's just unreal right now."
Cifuentes was killed near the city of Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, around 6:30 a.m. local time. He was one of 14 Marines from the Ohio-based 3rd Battalion 25th Marines killed in the attack. Of those, nine were from Cifuentes' Columbus-based Lima Company.
The same battalion suffered the loss of six soldiers Monday in a firefight with insurgents.
Marine Corps officials did not confirm the identities of the fallen soldiers Wednesday.
Cifuentes' parents declined comment. A deputy from the Butler County Sheriff's Office was posted at the family's Oxford home to protect their privacy.
A graduate of Saint Xavier High School in Cincinnati and a 2002 graduate of Miami University, Cifuentes enrolled in the university's integrated mathematics master's degree program before his unit was activated in January and moved to Iraq in March.
Saurber said Cifuentes and Reynolds, 23, became engaged in October and were scheduled to be married next summer. Both graduated from Miami University and had an interest in teaching. Reynolds works as a teacher for Fairfield City Schools. Cifuentes taught in the Talawanda School District as a substitute teacher.
The news of his death pained Talawanda Middle School Principal Sharon Lytle who remembered Cifuentes as an "excellent sub" who was well-liked by students. He exhibited a special willingness to help students requiring home instruction, Lytle said.
"He was always willing to take the toughest cases," she said. "He was a real team player."
Unfailingly polite and respectful, Cifuentes' demeanor at school was reflective of his background as a soldier, she said.
"A lot of college kids come in here just more relaxed," Lytle said. "He was just more mature."
She recalled Cifuentes informing her of his last day at the school. Lytle was hopeful of his safe return to the classroom.
Miami University officials too were saddened by the news of the Marine's death. Cifuentes' mother, Carolyn, is a business manager at the school.
"Carolyn Cifuentes is a wonderful gifted colleague in student affairs. In our department we feel like we are a since of family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family," said Richard Nault, Vice President of Student Affairs at MU. "We know that Michael was looking forward to returning to Miami and that's why it's a complete sadness for us."
Cox News Service reporter Dave Clark contributed to this report.
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Created by: Cindy
Record added: Aug 06, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11488053
Today and always, let us remember the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.|
Added: Jul. 4, 2016
Added: May. 30, 2016
Thinking of you, Grant, Aaron. It's almost 11 years. Semper Fi. Remembered always.|
Added: Apr. 19, 2016
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