Fairhaven, Mass. Marine killed in Afghanistan

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December 12, 2013, 4:14 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Fairhaven, Mass.) - The Fairhaven, Mass. community is mourning the death of a young Marine killed in Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Matt Rodriguez was a young man who wanted to help others by serving his country in the marines.

"I just wish I could have told him I loved him one more time. It's always those regrets," said Adam Rodriguez, the 17-year-old brother of Marine Lance Cpl. Rodriguez, through sadness with a brave heart, remembering his older brother.

"He was a fantastic kid. It's sad and it's heartbreaking, to see someone that great, go at such a young age," Adam Rodriguez said.

Matt, a combat engineer, from Fairhaven, Mass., was killed in action Wednesday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The 19 year old was a 2012 graduate of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational High School, where he studied plumbing.

Outside the school, Vietnam veteran Bruce Wilbur told us he enlisted when he was just 19.

"We do a lot of stuff for a lot of veterans and this is sad to hear, especially when everything is supposed to be winding down," Wilbur said.

The withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan is not until the end of 2014.

Lance Cpl. Rodriguez enlisted in August 2012 and deployed this past September.

Marine mom Pam Bettencourt's son also served in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He is home now, and she says her heart belongs to the Rodriguez family.

"And unless you have a child there, you can't understand it. You just can't. The torture that the family goes through. You know, when my son was over there, weeks would go by and you would hear nothing. So it's sad," Bettencourt said.

Matt's brother told us he was engaged to be married and that serving in the Marine Corps meant following his father, despite his father's reluctance to have his son go.

"He enjoyed it very much. He knew the struggles that it took and he knew the hardships he was going to face. But he went head on into it without any doubts, you know, he fought for what he loved," Adam said.

Adam says the family doesn't have many details about how Matt died. They are on their way to Dover Air Base in Delaware, where Matt's body will arrive Saturday.

Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Afghanistan, Marines, Josh Brogadir, Pentagon, Fairhaven, U.S.M.C., Matthew Rodriguez
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