DANVILLE (CBS SF) — Several hundred mourners packed the East Bay Fellowship church Wednesday afternoon at a memorial service for fallen Danville Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Corral.
The 19-year-old San Ramon Valley High School graduate was killed Nov. 18 in combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
During an emotional two-and-a-half hour service, family, friends and members of the military remembered the young man they knew as “Chachi.”
Those who spoke about Corral during the service recalled an ever-smiling young man who constantly put others first and was determined to serve in the Marine Corps.
“When Chachi joined the Marines, he told us he was joining because he wanted to make a difference,” his father Arnie Corral said, speaking from the pulpit.
During the last phone conversation Arnie and Denise Corral shared with their son just days before Nov. 18, the young soldier, sounding tired, asked them to pray for his fellow platoon members, Arnie Corral recalled.
“We told him we would pray for those guys,” he said, looking out at the attendees at Wednesday’s service. “Please help me keep that promise.”
Pastor Don Busboom, who delivered the eulogy for Corral, recalled how the young Marine had excelled in boot camp with the highest scores on physical fitness and weapons training tests.
Once in Afghanistan, Corral took on the role of sweeper, walking ahead of his fellow squad members to check for hidden bombs and other dangers, Busboom said.
The pastor and several other speakers during the service also highlighted Corral’s strong religious convictions.
By the time he deployed for Afghanistan, a trio of tattoos on his torso signaled his devotion to Christianity—one depicting Jesus Christ, another of a cross and a biblical psalm scrawled across his ribcage, said Mark Marcotte, a family friend.
“He was military-minded, but heavenly focused,” said Corral’s cousin Charles Dunlop, addressing the crowd.
Corral’s friends and family members also described a fun-loving young man who brought humor to otherwise mundane situations and who was known for his mischievous smile.
“Chachi created memories – memories rooted in real, authentic relationships,” Busboom said.
Photos of Corral from babyhood to young adulthood flashed across a church projection screen during a slideshow after Busboom’s eulogy, peppered with images of childhood notes and school awards.
Many mourners dabbed at tears as an honor guard carried the casket, draped in an American flag that contained Corral’s body.
Toward the ceremony’s end, Corral was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, which was presented to his family.
Later, honor guard members cracked unloaded rifles in a 21-gun salute as taps played in the background.
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