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Filipino-Americans Onboard USS COLE (DDG-67)

 

The last of the remains of those killed in the explosion on USS Cole Oct. 12 in Aden, Yemen, arrived this afternoon at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The remains were recovered Thursday by the Navy team of experts flown in from the U.S.

 

Among the casualties were two Fil-american, Information Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna, 21, of Rice, Texas
and Petty OfficerThird Class
Ronchester Manangan Santiago, 22, Kingsville, Texas.

 

We might be living in Peace but there are still dangers in this part of the world.

 

Information Systems Technician Tim Gauna, 21, of Rice, Texas, was a 1997 graduate of Ennis High School. Teachers said he was a quiet student who excelled in baseball and art. In 1999, he joined the Navy as a radio man.

"He went there to better himself, to make a better life for himself," said his mother, Sarah Gauna. The family last heard from Gauna by phone a few days ago as the Cole headed for a secret destination.

"He just kept saying, Were in dangerous waters, Mom, but were OK. Ill be OK. I promise you," Sarah Gauna said.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronchester Santiago, 22, of Kingsville, Texas, had been in the Navy since graduating in 1996 from H.M. King High School. He was scheduled to get out of the service in December and planned to study electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

"He was attracted to the adventure in the Navy," said his father, Rogelio Santiago, a retired Navy petty officer first class.

"He wanted to see the world. He just wanted the experience."

 "He went there to better himself, to
 make a better life for himself," said
 his mother, Sarah Gauna. The family
 last heard from Gauna by phone a
 few days ago as the Cole headed for
 a secret destination.
 
"He just kept saying, We?re in
 dangerous waters, Mom, but we?re
 OK. I?ll be OK. I promise you,?" Sarah
 Gauna said.

 

Will we ever understand the loss of Rogelio Santiago, a Navy veteran himself, who was planning a trip with his son Ron to his native Philippines in December? (From the Congressional Record Online)
 Have we ever experienced the bewilderment of Sarah Gauna, who said she would never hang up the phone with her boy until she had made him laugh, as she waited days to learn the awful truth about Timothy?
 We cannot feel the depth of sorrow of these families, but we are all diminished by their loss because U.S.S. Cole was a small patch of American soil and on that patch we lost our own.
 Today, as we come and go in our ordinary routine, life is anything but routine for those they left behind. 
 

   

 

 

 


Former USS Constitution cook among 17 killed in Cole attack
by Doug Hanchett

Saturday, October 14, 2000

Instead of having a gala celebration to commemorate the Navy's 225th birthday yesterday, sailors aboard the USS Constitution solemnly paid tribute to a former shipmate who was killed in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronchester Santiago, 22, of Kingsville, Texas, was a cook stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard before being transferred to the Cole in January. The ship, carrying 352 crew members, was hit in an apparent terrorist attack Thursday, leaving 17 dead.

``He was a cook - and a pretty good one, too,'' said William F. Foster Jr., commanding officer of the Constitution. ``He was a very popular crew member. Cooks get to know the crew - he did a lot of serving - and he was a popular guy . . . my thoughts and prayers are with him.''

Santiago joined the Navy after graduating from H.M. King High School in 1996. He was scheduled to be discharged in December and planned to study electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

``He was attracted to the adventure in the Navy,'' said his father, Rogelio Santiago, a retired Navy petty officer 1st class. ``He wanted to see the world. He just wanted the experience.''

Arnold Sanchez, the former ROTC director at H.M. King High School, remembered Santiago as a ``respectful'' student who joined the program to learn some leadership skills.

``He was real respectful, always wanting to do well,'' Sanchez said. ``It's just a shame it came to such a short career.

``He was the type of guy when he walked down the hall you knew he was coming. He was always smiling - not a prankster type, but he was always in a good mood. It was a welcome sight.''

Foster said Santiago spent most of his tour of duty living in the barracks in Charlestown, but moved off base toward the end of his three-year stay. He also denied reports that another sailor from the Constitution was now serving aboard the Cole.

In the wake of the attack, Foster decided to scrap a small Navy birthday party yesterday, instead leading his charges in a moment of silence to honor the fallen sailors.

He said many of his small crew - fewer than 70 sailors - were ``anxious, and justifiably so.''

Tours of ``Old Ironsides'' - which was in full dress in preparation for the party - went on as usual, however, with some visitors acknowledging the tragedy.

``I'm just wondering if all the people walking around here realize the importance of being here today,'' said Nancy Cornichuck of Peabody, whose son is in the Air Force. ``It's sad, looking around at the sailors who are here.''

CREWMATES NAME DINING HALL FOR SLAIN SAILOR

SOURCE: By JESSICA ROEBER

Crew members of the USS Constitution will name one of their dockside dining facilities for a former member of their crew who was killed aboard the USS Cole on Oct. 12.

Ronchester "Chester" Mananga Santiago, 22, of Kingsville, Texas, was one of 17 sailors who died when the Aegis-class destroyer USS Cole was rocked by a bomb in the Yemeni port of Aden.

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Nov 26, 1973. Lamberto Aledia, Filipino sailor in the US Navy won one million dollar price in the Massachusetts State Lottery.