BANGOR (AP) – When Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo called home from Iraq on Tuesday, his mother didn’t hear any fear in his voice. In fact, he sounded more upbeat than he had in the past.

“He was ready,” Victoria Foley said. “He was ready to fight that night. He knew it was going to get rough.”

Things did get rough for Arredondo later that day. He was killed in Najaf as the result of enemy action.

Foley said Marine officials told her that her son was rushed to a hospital after being shot, but died on the way.

Arredondo always saw the glass half-full, his mother and Arredondo’s brother Brian, 17, said Thursday. He joined the Marines out of a sense of duty, and when others complained about their training, he just smiled and kept working hard to make a difference, Brian said.

When Iraqi children threw rocks at American troops, Arredondo tried to change their attitudes.

“That’s one thing I will say I gave to him: optimism, which is a good thing to have in this life,” said Foley, who last year moved to Bangor to be closer to relatives.

Arredondo grew up in Massachusetts and joined the Marines at 17, his family said. He was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif. He hoped to go to college, marry and raise a family one day.

On Thursday, Foley flipped through photographs of her son. She had snapshots of a bare-bottomed infant and others that showed him growing up and filling out his 5-foot-11 frame.

Her favorite picture was a snapshot of Alex taken days after he was born, when she took him to see his father play soccer.

Arredondo’s father, Carlos Arredondo, now lives in Florida. He was so upset upon learning of Alex’s death that he climbed into a Marine Corps van and set fire to the vehicle.

He is doing well, despite burns over 26 percent of his body, said Brian, who spoke to his father on Wednesday.

AP-ES-08-27-04 1018EDT

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