Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy J. Arroyave, 30, Woodland; Killed in Accident in Iraq

Times Staff Writer

Staff Sgt. Jimmy J. Arroyave planned to serve for at least 20 years in the Marine Corps.

But his goal of becoming a gunnery sergeant and a military recruiter was cut short April 15 when he was killed in a noncombat-related accident in Ramadi, north of Baghdad.

The 30-year-old Marine from Woodland, Calif., was based at Camp Pendleton with Combat Service Support Battalion 1, Combat Service Support Group 11, 1st Force Service Support Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Born in Cali, Colombia, Arroyave moved with his family to California at an early age, according to military officials. He graduated from Woodland’s Cache Creek High School in 1992, and joined the Marines a year later. He served a yearlong stint in Japan in 1999 and another in Kuwait in 2002.


Arroyave was known for his love of soccer, physical fitness, the Sacramento Kings and national parks. In fact, military officials said, he carried his National Parks Passport with him on various vacations he took with his wife and young daughters, including a recent trip to Channel Islands National Park.

His widow, Rachelle -- his high school sweetheart -- lives in Oceanside with their two daughters: Vanessa, 6, and Natalia, 2. She is expecting the couple’s third child.

He also is survived by another daughter, Catie of Dixon, Calif.; his mother, Carmenza Brennan of Woodland; and his father, Javier Arroyave of New York.