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Army Pfc. Gabriel J. Figueroa

Died April 3, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Baldwin Park, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died April 3 in Baghdad when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.

Soldier from Baldwin Park dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

BALDWIN PARK, Calif. — Elsa Figueroa spoke to her son April 1 and told him she was counting the months until he came home from Iraq.

On April 3, Gabriel Figueroa and another soldier were killed in Baghdad by small-arms fire. He was 20.

Figueroa was an Army medic assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas. His family said Figueroa was supposed to return home in December.

Figueroa graduated from Sierra Vista High School in 2005 and had no regrets about joining the military.

“He definitely did not join because of the politics, he couldn’t care less about [President] Bush,” Figueroa’s father, Javier Figueroa, said. “He just wanted to be a soldier.”

His family said Figueroa expressed interest in pursuing a career in the medical field after returning from Iraq. He enjoyed fishing and liked reading Stephen King novels.

Figueroa is the third soldier from Baldwin Park to die in the war in Iraq, city officials said.

“This is sad for our city and family,” Mayor Manny Lozano said. “It hits the family hard and our community as well.”

Figueroa is survived by his father, Javier; his mother, Elsa; two brothers, Xavier and Sebastian; and two sisters, Danica and Tanya.

A military burial will be held April 14 at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier if Figueroa’s body is returned home by then.

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