Remembering war casualties

By Sharna Johnson

With a tiny paper Superman symbol no bigger than the tip of a finger stuck to the glass, Leroy “JR” Segura Jr.’s name stood out amidst the rows of golden dog tags glowing in the mid-day sun.

“He always said that he was Superman,” JR’s younger brother Jake Segura said.

Though he had no idea who placed the symbol near his brother’s dog tag, which honor military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said he wasn’t surprised, explaining with a smile on his face, “Everybody knew that … It was his thing.”

Students from area schools, friends, family and others gathered Monday at the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, Cost of Freedom exhibit to remember three former Clovis High School students who died in combat.

• Segura, an Army sergeant, died Aug. 4, 2006, in Iraq

• Army Sgt. Robert P. Kassin, 29, died July 16, 2006 in Afghanistan

• Army Sgt. Ruben Rubio died July 6, 1971, in South Vietnam

“He told a family friend he did not believe he would be returning from Vietnam,” Ritchie Garcia said of Ruben Rubio.

“I never met my Uncle Ruben, but I love him dearly,” Garcia said, tears on her cheeks.

Bethaney Beach told the crowd that her brother, Robert Kassin, always thought of himself as an outsider at the high school. He chose to go his own way, not concerned about fitting in. It was a trait he took with him into the service.