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Cooper City Marine killed 9 days into Iraq tour
By Hemmy So
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 28, 2006
Christopher Riviere, a Cooper City High School alumnus who joined the Marines about a year ago, has been killed in combat nine days after arriving in Iraq.
Riviere, 21, who died of combat wounds Tuesday in Al Anbar province, was the third South Floridian killed in Iraq this month.
At least 30 service members from South Florida have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.
"It never crossed our minds that he wouldn't come back," said Riviere's aunt, Connie Pie.
She joined several relatives Wednesday who offered their condolences at the rose-colored stucco home Riviere shared with his mother and stepfather, Margaret and James Lomba.
Riviere's year-old black Silverado truck sat in front of the house.
Riviere, a private first class, belonged to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Expeditionary Force, based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
After receiving lackluster grades at Cooper City High, Riviere believed the military would offer a bright career path, his aunt said.
"He accomplished something big for him, going through boot camp and becoming a Marine," Pie said.
Joel Aratane, who regretted not saying hello when he saw his neighbor Riviere about two weeks ago, remembered how excited the young man had been about being a Marine.
"It was an honorable thing for him, and we saw it as an honorable thing to do for our country," Aratane said.
Riviere had built a reputation for being responsible and hardworking, as shown by the summers he spent helping his stepfather on construction jobs and mowing neighbors' lawns.
Nicknamed "Kiki," a moniker that stuck after his younger sister failed to pronounce "Chris" as a small child, Riviere enjoyed swimming and football.
His favorite teams included the University of Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins.
Riviere was known as a friendly but quiet guy, who kept close to his family.
"When he went out, even if he was late, he'd call and say `Hey Pop, let Mom know I'll be late,'" said Riviere's uncle Joe Leal, who lives in Hollywood.
The Marine knew he wouldn't be home before year's end, so he requested both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners be served at his going-away party held over Labor Day weekend.
"That's what he wanted," Pie said.
Riviere is survived by his mother, stepfather and two younger sisters.
Another Marine, Lance Cpl. Rene Martinez, 20, of West Kendall in Miami-Dade County, died in Iraq on Sunday. Army Spc. Alexander Jordan, 31, of Palmetto Bay in Miami-Dade County, was killed in Baghdad on Sept. 10.