Green Beret From Chicopee Killed in Afghanistan Is Remembered - NECN
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Green Beret From Chicopee Killed in Afghanistan Is Remembered

Chicopee, Masschusetts native Master Sgt. Luis DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, joined the U.S. Army more than 13 years ago

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    Decorated Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Is Remembered

    Master Sgt. Luis DeLeon-Figueroa was taken in by a family in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and joined the military before he was killed while serving in Afghanistan. (Published Friday, Aug. 23, 2019)

    As the body of a decorated member of U.S. Special Forces was returned to home soil from Afghanistan on Friday, the Massachusetts native was remembered by the woman who took him when he was a teenager as a "very good man."

    Master Sgt. Luis DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, was one of two Green Berets who were killed by small arms fire on a combat operation this week.

    "I won't get those text messages, those little phone calls that mean the most," said his foster mother, Lisa Campbell.

    Vice President Mike Pence watched his flag-draped casket be transferred off a military plane on what would have been Deleon-Figueroa's 32nd birthday, along with that of 35-year-old Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez of California, in a somber, rainy ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

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    DeLeon-Figueroa joined the U.S. Army more than 13 years ago and was a member of the Army's Special Forces. He was deployed three times to Afghanistan, twice to South America and once to Iraq. His death was reported on Thursday.

    Among the decorations DeLeon-Figueroa received were an Army commendation medal and a Bronze Star, according to his family.

    "He proved himself as being a very good man, in wanting to balance life, and I'm very proud of him," said Campbell, who took DeLeon-Figueroa in when he was 13.

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker offered his condolences in a tweet on Friday, for what he called, "A terrible tragedy for him, his family and us all."

    Everyone at Chicopee High School remembered him, Principal Carol Kruser said.

    "He had a vision," she said. "And that was to be in the military."

    Both service members were posthumously promoted to master sergeant.