Fallen Hero SGT Julian M. Arechaga, United States Marines

SGT Julian M. Arechaga

March 6, 1983 – October 9, 2006
United States Marines

Julian Arechaga was born in East Meadow, NY to Hispanic parents. His Mother was from Puerto Rico, and his father from Peru. His parents eventually divorced, and it was difficult for his mother to raise him. Julian’s sister Sheyla Randazzo shares with us that as a young teenager Julian was troubled, ”He was in many fights and had joined a gang.” Sheyla and her husband Russ Randazzo, both quite young themselves with two little children, took Julian into their home and helped raise him. They enrolled him in a new school in a new town hoping he would fare better. The change was remarkable! He made the academic honor roll, loved wrestling, and the martial arts, won medals, and even held a job to help the family. His former coach describes him as a “model student……a kid with very high character.”

During his last year in high school Julian decided to become a Marine. States his brother-in-law, “Boot camp was hard but Julian and another guy graduated at the top of their platoon. His first tour was to Afghanistan. He wrote home that it was hot but he felt they were doing great work. Then Julian went to Fallujah, Iraq and it was tough. We know that he was involved in night patrols and getting intelligence. He was a squad leader and they were capturing insurgents. He won many awards.”

Julian’s mother died of cancer in June of 2006. He was able to attend her funeral before he deployed again to Iraq. States his sister, “Julian was done with the Marines, but found out that the men that he trained were going again into Iraq. He decided to re-up, saying, ‘My boys need me.’ He loved this country, the Marines, and also felt that the people in Iraq needed us.” He was promoted to Sargent and left on September 7.

One month later Julian lost his life when an explosive hit the Humvee in which he was riding. The following is from his sister Sheyla: “Julian loved being a Marine. He came from nothing and made himself a man. All of his ‘brothers’ say he was a Marine’s Marine. I keep in touch with all of his platoon. So far three of his friends had sons and they all named them Julian. I also had my third child, a boy, and named him after my brother.”

This painting was requested by Sheyla, and went to her. For I believe that she and her husband who recently celebrated their 17th anniversary are the other Heroes in this story. And on My Space Julian had at one time listed them as his Heroes.

Portrait sponsored by:
- Chuck & Millie Richter, Rochester, MN