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    LB Soldier Dies Serving In Iraq

    (May 4, 2007, updated w/ Governor's statement) -- is saddened to report the death of another LB soldier serving in Iraq.

    The Defense Department announced today (May 4) that Spc. Astor A. Sunsin-Pineda, 20, of Long Beach died May 2 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

    Spc Pineda, KIA May 07
    Spc. Sunsin-Pineda
    Photo source: Fort Riley, U.S. DoD

    Also killed in the same lethal blast was 1st Lt. Ryan P. Jones, 23, from Westchester, Massachusetts.

    Both men were assigned to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas.

    Fort Riley public affairs says Spc. Sunsin-Pineda was a combat engineer who entered the Army in August 2005 and began serving with the 1st Infantry Division in January 2006. "This was his first deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism," a Fort Riley release says.

    In a statement issued May 10, CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "Specialist Sunsin-Pineda served our country with pride and dedication. Astor's heroic determination to fight for the oppressed is an inspiration to all Californians. Maria and I offer our prayers for Astor's family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time."

    In honor of Spc. Sunsin-Pineda, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

    On January 27, 2007, as previously reported by, Pfc David Toomalatai, 19, of Long Beach was one of three soldiers to die in Taji, Iraq of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during convoy operations.

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