ELYRIA — Eddie Corsino was fresh out of high school when he joined the Marines.
It was 1969 and he had just turned 19, so with the military draft plucking friends and neighbors all around him, he thought he might as well beat the government to the punch.
“He felt a love for the Marines, and he thought he was going to be drafted anyway, so he wanted to have his choice of where he was going,” said his sister, Olga Santos. “He knew he would go first on the frontline, and he wanted to do something for his country.”
Nearly three months into his tour of duty in South Vietnam, his squad was ambushed by Viet Cong. Corsino, along with most of his fellow troops, were shot down in the attack. His family learned about it on television.
“My mother knew exactly which squad he belonged to, and they said it on TV when it was ambushed,” Santos said. “Shortly after that, servicemen came to the house. When their car pulled in front of the house, she was hysterical.”
Corsino was a mild-mannered teenager from Lorain’s west side who never talked back and never argued with anyone, partly because he was the baby of the family and had five siblings who put him in his place, Santos said. He was a devout Christian, she said, and didn’t want to go to war because he didn’t think it was right to kill.
“But he knew it was important to sacrifice for his country,” she said.
He was the singer in a rock ’n’ roll band with some friends from the neighborhood, covering songs from bands including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. He also sang at Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain, where he was a parishioner.
“He had a beautiful voice,” she said. “I was surprised when he joined the Marines, but I didn’t question it. I just wondered why.”
Santos said she always thought the war in Vietnam was wrong, and her thoughts were confirmed as those soldiers walked up the steps of her mother’s Temple Avenue home to deliver the news of Corsino’s death.
“I was crushed,” she said. “He was the first sibling to pass away, and he was the youngest. I didn’t feel those guys should have been there in the first place. They gained nothing from that, and we lost a lot from that — not only us, the people from Vietnam as well.”
Santos said this new war in Iraq has stirred up the same feelings.
“It kind of reminds me of Vietnam,” she said. “These guys are dying, and we haven’t accomplished anything.”
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.