2 Aug 2007

Fallen American Samoan soldier from Irag war died of cancer

6:18 pm on 2 August 2007

The body of an American Samoa soldier, Sergeant Victoria Elizabeth Unutoa, was returned home today, welcomed as another fallen hero from the war in Iraq.

Sgt Unutoa was diagnosed with Barritt's Lymphoma in August of 2006 and had been given only two weeks to live.

She died a week ago, aged 22.

Her death has not been classified as a fatality of the war.

However, her father, Tanielu Unutoa, believes a chemical she was exposed to in the battlefield caused the rare form of cancer which claimed her young life.

"My daughter died in my arms. That's how bad it is. I watched her die because they brought her to me and then I had to care for her for two weeks and watched her just wither away and die. So that was... trust me, it was the most heartbreaking thing a parent can ever do is watch their daughter die in their arms. This is a terrible illness. And she's not the only one getting cancer from Iraq. There's plenty now."