CHICOPEE (CBS) – The body of a 31-year-old Chicopee native killed in Afghanistan was flown back to the U.S. Friday. Master Sgt. Luis Deleon-Figueroa was one of two soldiers killed in combat on Wednesday.
“He’s my hero, he’s the family hero,” his grandmother Teresa Bosque said.
MSgt. Deleon-Figueroa was born to be a soldier. His family and friends say his life was all about sacrifice and service.
“You can just tell that was his life, he was made for that,” Air Force Staff Sgt. Carlos Battle said about his friend.
MSgt. Deleon-Figueroa was killed during a combat operation in Faryab Province.
“It hurts, my baby is dead,” Bosque said. “But at the same time he died doing what he wanted to do.”
SSgt. Battle was Deleon-Figueroa’s close friend. He says he was deployed numerous times throughout his career to Afghanistan, South America and Iraq.
“He was always driven,” SSgt. Battle said. “That’s just him, he set his mind to something and he went out and got it.”
SSgt. Battle says his friend was also highly decorated, receiving the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Purple Heart.
“He was in the Special Forces Green Beret, on top of all the medals and the things he’s done in the military that’s outstanding,” SSgt. Battle said.
After graduating from Chicopee High School Deleon-Figueroa entered the Army and served for 13 years. His grandmother says he taught her a lot about this country.
“He teach me how to love this country,” Bosque said. “He teach me that we belong here. He teach me that we have to do everything we can do for this country. He love it.”
His body returned to the United States Friday, on what would have been his 32nd birthday. He leaves behind a loving family and two daughters.