A 21-year-old Marine from Santa Clara was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, just five months after he was deployed to the Middle East.
The U.S. Marine Corps said Monday that Lance Cpl. Harry Lew died "while supporting combat operations" in Helmand Province. The Santa Clara High School graduate's death is under investigation.
Lew was based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, where he was an infantryman.
Lew joined the Marines in August 2009 and reported to his unit in February 2010.
Military officials in Hawaii said his unit deployed to the Middle East in November. His unit had joined a Marine combat team for counterinsurgency work with the Afghan National Security Forces, provided security to locals and promoted development in the region.
Two weeks ago, Lew wrote on his Facebook page that he was set to return home in July.
"See you all in a few more months," he wrote on Feb. 2.
Friends who posted on Lew's Facebook page said he was an avid breakdancer and "tricker," an alternative sport that involves kicks, flips and twists. They said he was known for joking around and keeping the mood light. His profile also says he was engaged.
No one answered the door at his family's Park Court home on Monday, and family members did not return phone messages. A red Pontiac Grand Am with a Marines sticker sat parked in front of the house.
Neighbors described the family as a sweet group who kept to themselves. Lew's grandmother, who was staying at the house, passed away last year, they said.
Lew was the second Santa Clara County native to die in Helmand Province in the past four weeks. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Wells, 31, of San Jose, was trying to disarm an improvised explosive device when he stepped on a hidden bomb and died on March 5.
The military has honored Lew with the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705.