SPANISH FORK -- As friends offered condolences on the death of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos in Iraq, his mother had a single request: Would it be possible, perhaps, to send over a few American flags to grace her front yard?
    "I was so proud of him. He was a very good son," the Marine's mother, Patricia Acosta, said Tuesday. "He had lots of dreams, but they are all nothing now. He was too young to die."
    Machado-Olmos, who would have been 21 next week, was killed Monday, the third Marine from Utah to die in the restive Iraqi province of Al Anbar in the past eight days.
    All three of the Utah Marines took part in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and all were serving their second tour of duty at the time of their deaths.
    Machado-Olmos died when the Humvee in which he was riding hit sand and rolled. The Pentagon called his death a noncombat-related vehicle accident.
    The Marine, however, was performing a combat-related task in a war zone, said Maj. Jennifer Butler, family support officer at Camp Williams.
    Machado-Olmos is survived by his mother, stepfather Esau Acosta and stepsiblings Esau Acosta, 12, and Samantha Acosta, 8. He had promised to take the children to Disneyland on his next leave.
    "He was so good in many, many ways," said his aunt Laura Orneles, of Colorado. "He was like a parent, always taking care of his little brother and sister."
    Machado-Olmos was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when he was a toddler. He is described as loving, intelligent and responsible. He was a paper boy when the family lived in Provo. And during his senior year at Spanish Fork High School, he was an assistant librarian, surrounded by books he read and loved. His family had just sent him a box of books that was en route when he died.
    "Cesar was an avid book reader," said Spanish Fork High librarian Debbi Gardner. "When he decided to join the Marines, it was a shock. He was a gentle man, [not] the type you'd think would go into the Marines. He was a quiet, gentle soul."
    Still, she remembers him looking up information on the Marines.
    Machado-Olmos joined the Marine Corps in August 2001, shortly after his high school graduation and just weeks before the terrorist attacks on the United States.
    Machado-Olmos was assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was a hygiene equipment operator, installing, operating and maintaining pumps and water purification equipment, said Gunnery Sgt. Marcus McAlister, spokesman for Camp Lejeune.
    The public information on his death was released Tuesday, hours before the body of Lance Cpl. Quinn Keith was flown into Salt Lake International Airport for a funeral and burial in Blanding scheduled for today.
    Keith, 21, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Allred, 22, of Hyde Park, and five other Marines were killed Sept. 6 when a suicide bomber crashed into their convoy near the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Allred was buried Monday in the Hyde Park Cemetery.
    The body of Machado-Olmos tentatively is scheduled to arrive in Utah today. Funeral arrangements are pending.
    When his aunt heard of his death, she rushed to Utah to comfort his mother.
    "I thought she was not too strong," said the sobbing Orneles. "But she is stronger than me."