Moon had already completed his enlistment papers when he graduated from high school in 2003. In the days before his induction, he drew his family and friends together in an extended celebration, Nam said.
His goal was to become an FBI agent, she said. He enlisted first because “he wanted to support his family financially. He wanted to support his country.”
Posted first to South Korea, where he met members of his extended family, Moon served a tour in Iraq from August 2004 to September 2005.
He won an Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal and a Combat Infantryman’s badge.
Joining the Second Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., Moon returned to Iraq in September. He reassured his parents that a Baghdad assignment was safer than his earlier duty in the Sunni Triangle.
“He loved what he did,” Nam said. He told his parents he hadn’t called in recent weeks because of his new duties as a squad leader.
The circumstances of his death aren’t clear. The Pentagon said in a news release he was injured Dec. 14 by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Baghdad and died on Dec. 25.
But his parents, who had spoken with him at 1 a.m. Iraqi time on Dec. 25, were told by the Army that the explosion happened that day and that his death was quick and painless, Nam said.
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