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Army Sgt. Carlos A. Benitez, 24, of Carrollton, Texas
Sgt Benitez was assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 14, 2010 while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Spc. Rafael Martinez Jr. and Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley.
Twenty four years of pictures and memories are scattered on a kitchen table, while family and friends remember. A life taken too soon and a father left heartbroken.
"I love them very much and I am here to give a little support to her," said Josefina Rivera, a family friend.
A mother is left wondering how she will live without her oldest son. "There are no words to say how much, she loved her son," said Rivera.
Army Sgt. Carlos Benitez died in Afghanistan this past week, after insurgents attacked his unit. Two other soldiers were also killed.
Benitez, a Creekview High School graduate, enlisted in the army at 18. It was his childhood dream.
In the last six years, he had already served two 12-month tours in Iraq. He left for his third assignment in the Middle East in July.
His mom shared her fears with friends. "She was also worried when too many days pass away. She doesn't know anything about him," said Rivera. She wasn't the only one. The family told us Benitez was hesitant about his latest assignment.
He didn't want to leave his wife, Susana -- the two married in January 2008 in Denton County and held a church ceremony the following year. Benitez was raising her son as his own -- he also had a daughter from a previous relationship.
He wanted to spend more time with his family. He was even thinking about visiting his 89-year-old grandmother in El Salvador.
It is a family now left without their rock.
His daughter, Angie Benitez, wears a broken heart in honor of her father. She said if he doesn’t come home, she’s going to miss him.
Imelda Castillo painfully remembers receiving a call from her daughter to come home from her job in Farmers Branch on Thursday. There was a military man at the house with bad news: Castillo's son had been killed in Afghanistan.
"It's like a part of me left," Castillo said of her feelings when arriving home to receive the news from the military official.
Castillo said that her son, a graduate of Creekview High School in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district, was dedicated to the Army. She said that he wanted to enlist when he was 17 but that she refused to sign paperwork allowing him to do so. He joined when he was 18.
"It's what he wanted, to be in the Army," Castillo said.
Castillo said that she had seen news on TV of soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and never thought of it happening to her son.
"Now I understand what it really feels like," she said.
Army Sgt. Carlos A. Benitez was killed in action on 10/14/10.