Monday, January 17, 2011

Burmese-American First Marine killed in 2011

Monday, 17 January 2011 20:28 Thomas Maung Shwe

(Mizzima) - Maung P. Htaik, originally from Burma, has become the first US Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

The 20-year-old soldier, known to his friends as Sam, died while on deployment in Helmund Province on January 1.

Maung Htaik lived with his parents in Hagerstown, Maryland, and graduated from Smithsburg High School in 2008.

He was born in Rangoon on July 12, 1990, one of the most turbulent years in Burma’s history, which saw the regime ignore the electoral victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. His family moved to the US when Maung Htaik was in his early teenage years.

Maung Htaik was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He joined the Marines in April and had been promoted to lance corporal. Last July, Maung Htaik and his unit were sent to Afghanistan as part of the US troop surge designed to defeat the Taliban.

At his funeral, held on January 8, his mother, Flory Shwe, and his father, Hla Shwe, received a Purple Heart medal from the US military. The award is given to any member of the US Armed Forces who has been wounded or killed in the field. Also in attendance at the funeral was Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.

A friend of Maung Htaik, Joesph Naing, delivered the eulogy at the ceremony, which also included a speech by his older brother, Dan Yar, and a performance by a Burmese choir.

Maung Htaik will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on January 18.

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