California Marines Die in Fighting at Al Anbar Province

Times Staff Writer

Marcus M. Cherry and his older brother, Andre, were inseparable.

After Andre joined his high school’s football team, Marcus -- a year younger -- did the same. They hung out in the same Imperial Valley church youth group. They wrote and performed Christian rap songs for hometown crowds at the annual fair in Imperial, Calif.

After his brother joined the Marines, Marcus followed. Each was sent to Iraq. By sheer chance about a week ago, Marcus spotted Andre outside a mess hall in Fallouja. The two lance corporals chatted happily for two hours.


Marcus Cherry, 18, was killed Tuesday during a battle in Al Anbar province. He was among 24 Camp Pendleton Marines killed last week, the majority, like Cherry, from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. An infantryman, he recently was promoted to team leader.

On Tuesday night, his mother, Genevieve King, saw two uniformed Marines walking up her driveway. She darted out the door before the men reached her, crying: “No God, no God -- Not my kids!”

“I didn’t want to hear it,” King said. “I had to ask: ‘Which one?’ ”

Andre Cherry will accompany his brother’s body home to Imperial, in a desert corner of southeastern California.

Born in San Diego, Cherry’s family moved to Imperial County when he was in junior high school.

Cherry proposed last fall to Shannon Severe, who was one of his brother’s best friends in high school. The couple set Nov. 20 as their wedding date.

The last time they spoke -- three days before he was killed -- Cherry told her not to worry about him, that he would come home soon. “It’s hard for me to accept I’m never going to see him again, never hear his voice,” Severe said.

In addition to his mother and older brother, Marcus Cherry is survived by his father, Andre Cherry Sr. of San Diego; a half sister, Monique Tyler, 12; and a half brother, Stephen Tyler, 9. Funeral arrangements were pending.