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Marine Staff Sgt. Javier O. Ortiz Rivera

Died November 16, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Rochester, N.Y.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Nov. 16 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Family mourns death of Marine

By Jeffrey Blackwell

Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The family of a Marine is mourning the loss of Staff Sgt. Javier Ortiz-Rivera, who was killed Nov. 16 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

On the dining room table of her small, neat First Street home, Ortiz-Rivera’s mother placed photographs of her son in his Marine uniform, with his wife, Veronica, and with their three young children, and another with his sister Glory Ortiz, brother Orlando and father Orlando Ortiz.

“There are just no words,” said Gloria Rivera, mother of the 26-year-old Marine.

Four days before his death, Ortiz-Rivera called his family in Rochester and talked about the bad phone connection and the excitement of his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Days later, sister Glory and her family found out the crushing news of Javier’s death from an improvised explosive device.

“He was not just my brother,” said Glory Ortiz, 22. “He was everybody’s brother.”

Ortiz-Rivera was raised in Rochester and is a graduate of the School of Imaging and Information Technology at Edison. He joined the Marines right out of high school in 2002.

His first of three tours of duty was in Iraq in 2003. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 and again in September. He was due to return home in August.

According to the Defense Department, Ortiz-Rivera was killed while conducting combat operations in Helmand province of Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“He was dedicated to his Marines and was proud of them,” said wife, Veronica Ortiz. “He told me he was extremely blessed to be out there with the guys he was out there with. He started a Bible study with his guys, and his faith was stronger than ever.”

Ortiz-Rivera lived with his wife and three children, Alyssa Jade, 8, Andrew Joshua, 5, and Anthony Javier, 3, in married housing at Camp Lejeune. Veronica said in an e-mail that her husband was a wonderful father.

“Javier was the absolute best father any kid could ever hope for,” she wrote. “His kids were his pride and joy and of all the jobs he had, being a father was what he did best.”

Funeral arrangements are pending. Glory said her brother wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington. She said his death is pulling the family even closer together.

“The last time we talked to him, the call just kept dropping off until we just gave up,” said Glory. “He loved his family and he was a great father and a great brother to everybody.”

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