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Army Pfc. Luis A. Perez

Died August 27, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Theresa, N.Y.; assigned to the 223rd Transportation Company, Army Reserve, Norristown, Pa.; killed Aug. 27 when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Fallujah, Iraq.

East Chicago native killed in Iraq

Associated Press

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. — A 19-year-old soldier who grew up in East Chicago was killed in Iraq when the fuel truck he was driving hit a land mine, his aunt told The Times of Munster.

Pvt. Luis A. Perez, who was working as a transport driver, died Thursday, said his aunt, Yaya Madrigal. She said the family did not know where in Iraq he had died.

“It’s really horrible, because right now we feel like we can’t do anything,” Madrigal said. “It’s like a bad dream.”

The Defense Department’s Web site did not include a statement about Perez’s death and a spokeswoman said Sunday the last death report posted on the site was on Friday.

Madigral told The Times that relatives gathered in East Chicago to grieve together after Perez’s mother, Lisa Perez, was informed of his death by an Army officer and policeman who visited her Hammond apartment.

Madrigal said Luis Perez, a tall and lanky youth, was raised by his grandmother for many years because his father, a career military man serving in the Army, made frequent moves.

Perez attended McKinley Elementary School in East Chicago and later Morton High School in Hammond before graduating from a high school in New York, she said.

In addition to his father, Jose Perez, and mother, he is survived by two sisters, she said.

The whole family was extremely concerned when Luis Perez shipped out for the Middle East less than two months ago, Madrigal said.

On Aug. 25, five days after turning 19, Perez sent an e-mail from Kuwait that he was shipping out for Iraq.

“I still can’t believe he died in that way because he was just a little boy, not a soldier,” said his grandmother, Clara Madrigal.

Perez was the 26th service member from Indiana to die in the Middle East since the buildup for the invasion of Iraq began in February 2003.

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