Ricky Temores and his little brother Oscar had a ritual whenever they watched scary movies.
Oscar, who shared a room with Ricky, would slip into his brother’s bed and cover his foot with his own to let him know he was there. Separated by birth by only a year, Oscar began doing it when they were around 8 or 9 and it lasted into their early teens.
If one of the brothers woke up from a nightmare, “we would instantly know that we were right next to each other,” Ricky Temores said.
That act symbolizes the sort of sailor Oscar Temores would become: a protector and defender.
Master-At-Arms 3rd Class Oscar Temores, 23, died after his patrol car was struck while responding to a civilian gate runner at Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story in Virginia Beach during the weekend, the Navy confirmed Tuesday.
Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story’s commanding officer, Capt. Joey Frantzen, told reporters Monday that the civilian — who has not been identified — was on base for a “very short period of time" after driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup through an outbound lane at Gate 8 before striking Temores’ patrol car head on.
Temores died shortly after arriving at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, where the other driver was also taken.
His family has set up a Go Fund Me fundraiser. Ricky, 24, and Temores’ younger brother, Benny, 21, remembered Oscar as a fearless child; a smart aleck who often got into trouble for his antics, like pulling a trampoline under the basketball hoop.
“He was just a giant ball of energy, and strength,” Ricky Temores said.
Growing up in Lemoore, California, Oscar had wanted to join the Navy from an early age.
“It’s almost like he was put there as a catalyst for his future,” Ricky Temores said.
Later, he joined the Naval Junior Officers Reserve Training Corps in high school. He enlisted in February 2018 and was assigned to the Virginia Beach base in June of that year.
“His personality was perfect for a police officer, but the police officer that everybody loved,” Ricky Temores said.
Ricky Temores said the family last saw Oscar in person in May when he flew home to surprise his mother for her 47th birthday.
In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by his wife and a two-year-old son, Damien.
Capt. Frantzen asked that information about the suspect be given to the Virginia Beach Police Department, which is leading the probe into the sailor’s death.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents are assisting the local authorities.
“Petty Officer Temores was a remarkable individual and dedicated sailor, who contributed greatly to the security of our base and country,” Frantzen said in a statement Tuesday. “He had great pride in his service to our country and a great love for his family. He was an exceptional representative of the young people of today who volunteer to serve in our military forces. He will be greatly missed.”
Virginia Beach Police Master Police Officer Linda J. Kuehn said the investigation continues.
She said that the suspect was not being pursued by police at the time. The department is awaiting a hospital toxicology report to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crash, she added.
Following a vigil attended by more than 130 mourners at Saint Theresa chapel on Fort Story Monday, Ricky Temores said their mother learned more about the sailor her son had become.
“He was very involved and a leader in helping other people grow into what they wanted to because he had reached his goal and he just wanted to see other people reach theirs,” he said.
Courtney Mabeus-Brown is the senior reporter at Air Force Times. She is an award-winning journalist who previously covered the military for Navy Times and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., where she first set foot on an aircraft carrier. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and more.