Armona soldier killed in Afghanistan is remembered

FRESNO, Calif.

Bateman was laid to rest last week in Nevada. But, he grew up in Armona and still has many family members who call the Central Valley home.

Susanne Brocks says her nephew was a young man of great character, and displayed his depth right up until the moment he gave his life, trying to rescue another wounded Marine.

Bateman's aunt, Susanne Brocks said, "They were counting heads making sure everybody had checked in and they noticed there was somebody not there so he went to find out what had happened, saw him down and was going to his aid and was trying to save him when he ended up losing his life also."

Bateman was buried late last week with full military honors at a southern Nevada military cemetery. The corporal died alongside 20-year-old Kenneth Cochran of Wilder, Idaho.

Family members say Bateman did not die in combat. Although loved ones have not been given any official report, they believe he was electrocuted while helping another Marine who was injured during an accident involving an electric generator.

Last month, Brocks spoke to her nephew for the last time. She says she felt comforted to hear his first combat deployment had been rather uneventful.

"He had said, oh I'm bored and I said that's ok, because bored is good and that means you're safe and I said you only have a little while later," said Brocks. "You'll be home before you know it, hang in there and we're proud of him."

Bateman earned several honors during his military career, including the Purple Heart medal. Combat Action ribbon and National Defense Service medal. He is survived by his mother, step father, brother and sister.

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