NFA, Class of 2001.
MARINE GYSGT LUIS A. MERCADO JR.
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W e l c o m e
Posted May. 22, 2017
New Windsor mom, Luz Mercado, started the foundation, ÒSupport Our Heroes, when her son Marine GYSGT Luis Mercado Jr. was stationed in Iraq and started to share items from packages his mom sent him to fellow soldiers who told him of some of the simple pleasures they were missing from home.
Lucy Mercado, New Windsor, is preparing to ship items to military service members as part of her foundation, Support Our Heroes. She supports three platoons in Afghanistan.
September 09, 2004
Marine's family on edge
Many terrible things have been happening here, he writes
By Alice Kenny
New Windsor - Luz Mercado stood before the photo of her son, Marine Sgt. Luis Mercado, gently planting a kiss. Five days had passed since she received an e-mail from him in Iraq.
"Last night, I couldn't sleep," she said, her voice shaking. "I went to the computer at 1 a.m. to see if he was on, but nothing."
She was terrified. A recent spike in violence there has led to a surge in American military deaths, with the total topping 1,000 this week.
Mercado, thankfully, was not among them. Yesterday morning, the Times Herald-Record, with whom Mercado corresponds, received an e-mail from him. "Sorry that I haven't had a chance to make contact with you lately," Mercado wrote. "Many terrible things have been happening over here. We just had a ceremony 10 minutes ago for a U.S. Marine & due to his death."
It's hard to hear this message and feel happy, but Luz Mercado, her husband, Luis Sr., and their younger son, Christopher, rejoiced to learn that their loved one is alive.
The Mercados think of him constantly, they said. The maple tree in front of their New Windsor raised ranch is covered with yellow bows. Their immaculate home is filled with his memories: a 3- by 6-foot wall photo of little Luis, then 1½ years old, smiling gamely at the camera; Luis at age 3, riding his first bike with training wheels; Luis' high school graduation photo and pictures of this young, handsome man shyly smiling in his Marine cap and gold-buttoned blue uniform.
All his life, he'd dreamed of serving as a Marine. He first tried to join when he was 13. His mother learned of his plans when she opened the U.S. Marine Corps letter of rejection. He would have to wait until he turned 18, the letter told him.
So he joined the Air Force ROTC while attending Newburgh Free Academy. The Air Force offered him a full scholarship to attend its academy when he graduated from high school in 2001. Instead, on his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Marines. Quickly, he rose through the ranks. Before serving in Iraq, he served for a year on military guard duty for President George W. Bush.
Now 21, Mercado became the second-youngest Marine sergeant ever when he was promoted in April, his father, Luis Mercado Sr., said.
Now, he's in charge of many troops.
"Every day, I pray when I wake up and before I go to sleep," Mercado wrote, "talking to the Lord that he brings every single one of my troops home with myself right behind them."
Ricardo Rios, Jr.