Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The Pentagon has identified the three U.S. soldiers killed in an insurgent attack on Sunday in Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera, 26, of Caldwell, Idaho; Sgt. Jamar A. Hicks, 22, of Little Rock, Arkansas; and Spc. Keith E. Grace Jr., 26, of Baytown, Texas.
Herrera and Grace died in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, while Hicks was evacuated to Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost, Afghanistan, and later died.
The soldiers were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Herrera's family released the following statement to the media that reads, in part:
“First of all, we want the world to know that Octavio loved – and was deeply loved by – his family. His family has always been his priority, and it was clear to all of us that he took so much pleasure from being with us. That included play-wrestling with his nephews, nieces, his brothers and sister and even his father. He was the youngest but strongest son and we thought of him as our ‘big little brother.’ He loved having fun! Octavio’s smile lit up any room he was in and we will never forget that smile...
From the time he was young, Octavio told us he knew he wanted to join the Army. It seemed his calling was for a life of public service, and he told us he wanted to continue his public service after he left the military, perhaps as a police officer. We feel this calling was a noble thing...
He was a caring husband and best friend to his wife. He greeted each of their days together with one of his famous smiles. His wife was truly blessed to find her soul mate, and he will forever be the love of her life.
Octavio leaves behind his wife Courtney, his father, mother, grandmother and grandfather, two brothers, a sister, 2 nephews and 2 nieces, a sister-in-law, his mother and father-in-law, and a brother-in-law. His extended family is in Oregon, Nevada, Chicago and Mexico.”