Remembering the Life and Memory of...
Hometown: Blairstown, New Jersey, U.S.
Age: 21 years old
Died: January 16, 2005, in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army National Guard, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, NY.
Birth: Mar. 30, 1983
New Jersey, USA
Death: Jan. 16, 2005
BLAIRSTOWN — A 21-year-old soldier from Blairstown, described by a close family friend as devoted to his family and fond of military service, died Sunday while serving in Iraq.
Spc. Alain L. Kamolvathin, 21, died in Baghdad, Iraq, in a motor vehicle accident, the Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday. Kamolvathin was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, based in New York City.
Marilyn Maring, of Blairstown, a close friend of Kamolvathin’s family, remembered the young man Tuesday as a person who cared about his loved ones.
“He was very intelligent and nice — a quiet young man very devoted to his family and friends,” Maring said. “He would do everything for his family and friends.”
Both of Kamolvathin’s parents died when he was a teenager.
His mother, Marie, died of cancer about four years ago. His father, Chokchai, died of a heart attack in 2003.
He was constantly in touch with his many aunts and uncles and his only immediate relative, his 12-year-old sister Sidney, who lives in Blairstown, Maring said.
“He loved Sidney with all of his heart and was very devoted to her,” she said.
Maring believes Kamolvathin joined the National Guard for educational and travel opportunities.
“He really liked the service,” Maring said. “He liked his buddies and he liked to stay physically fit.”
Kamolvathin attended North Warren Regional High School until 1999, when he was a sophomore, according to the school’s yearbook.
Upon leaving the high school, his mother home schooled the teen until her death in 2000. He continued his education by taking computer courses and earned his general equivalency degree at age 19.
After his father died, Kamolvathin lived in Queens with his father’s family, Maring said.
He also visited his mother’s family in Pennsylvania.
Kamolvathin joined the National Guard after he received his GED. He graduated from basic combat training at Fort Knox, Ky., in 2003.
Kamolvathin had been in Iraq since October, Maring said. He was a scout.
She last heard from Kamolvathin about two weeks ago. He never talked about his responsibilities while serving in Iraq.
“He was a well-respected person,” Maring said. “He did his job well over there.”
Another soldier in Kamolvathin’s regiment died Monday as a result of a motor vehicle accident that also occurred on Sunday. It was unclear if both soldiers died as a result of the same accident.
Pfc. Francis C. Obaji, 21, of Queens Village, N.Y., died in the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.
Both deaths are under investigation, according to a Pentagon news release.
Long Island National Cemetery
New York, USA
Plot: SECTION R SITE 2865K
Shortly after the death of his father, Alain L. Kamolvathin made a promise to his little sister, Sidney. They were now orphans, but Alain told her he'd earn the money to buy them a house. "He loved his sister. I can't even explain in words how much he loved her," said a cousin, Frank Kamolvathin. "He was saving everything he had so he could buy the house for her." Kamolvathin, 21, of Blairstown, N.J., died Jan. 16 when his Humvee rolled over into a drainage trench in Baghdad. He was stationed in New York City. He was remembered as a fireplug of a man, short and barrel-chested, who liked to re-enact the moves he saw in martial arts films. He enlisted after receiving his GED at age 19. His mother died in 2000 of cancer and their father died of a heart attack in 2003. A friend of the family took care of Sidney, while Alain lived with his uncle's family in New York. Kamolvathin planned to leave the National Guard after his current commitment was up. "He wanted to take care of his sister," said Nazarin Kamolvathin, his uncle. "I told them that their mother and father would have wanted them to be together."