Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Marcus Cherry
More than 80 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq this month, marking the deadliest period since military operations began more than a year ago to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.
One of those soldiers killed was Lance Cpl. Marcus Cherry, an 18-year-old from the Imperial Valley in Southern California, just miles from the border with Mexico.
Cherry had been in Iraq for just three weeks when his platoon was ambushed in the city of Ramadi and he was shot by insurgents. Cherry had followed his older brother Andre into the U.S. Marine Corps, and to the war. This week, Andre Cherry brought his brother's body home.
NPR's Mandalit del Barco recently visited Cherry's family home to talk with the soldier's family about who Cherry was in life — his deep Christian faith, his patriotism and love of hip-hop music. Cherry hoped to spread the word of the Gospel through rap music.