Army Ranger Spec. Ricardo Cerros Jr., 24, was killed in Logar Province after insurgents attacked his unit. This was his first Afghanistan deployment, according to Northwest Indiana Times. Cerros was the only casualty of the firefight.
Cerros Jr. lived in Gary as a small child before moving to Salinas, Calif., with his father. His mother still lives in the Brunswick neighborhood of Gary. Many of Cerros' relatives remain in Northwest Indiana.
Cerros joined the army with hopes of becoming a pilot. He was assigned to be a specialist with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and Joint Base Lewis-McChord Wash.
The family said Cerros Jr. was "happy-go-lucky" and passionate about his military service. The family plans to retrieve his body Monday afternoon in Delaware and hopes to bury him in Gary.
The army released a statement Monday calling Cerros a warrior. "Spc. Ricardo Cerros was an incredible talented and a well-respected member of this battalion," said Lt. Col. David Hodne in the statement. "We will honor his service to our country and never forget his sacrifice."
Cerros Jr. is survived by his parents, Ricardo Cerros Sr. and Marguerite Cuevas, stepmother, Deborah Cerros, and siblings.