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Marine Cpl. Julio Vargas

Died July 20, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Sylmar, Calif.; assigned to the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died July 20 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marine cpl. recalled as friendly, ‘always smiling’

The Associated Press

Julio Vargas and his wife Rosita were looking forward to starting a family.

The two had married in December, and bought a house near Camp Pendleton, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Before Vargas deployed to Afghanistan, he had asked his father if he was ready to be a grandfather.

The 23-year-old Marine had been expected home at the end of September but was killed July 20 by a roadside bomb in Helmand province. He listed Sylmar, Calif., as his hometown.

“He was a good kid,” Adalberto Cruz, a longtime family neighbor, told the newspaper. “He was always smiling and you’d never see him mad or anything. He was always real polite, really outgoing.”

He graduated from Sylmar High School, and in February 2008 enlisted in the military. He had been a vehicle gunner in Afghanistan.

“He was a real-life hero, one of our nation’s bravest individuals, and his service and sacrifice in the name of freedom will not be forgotten,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

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