The Department of Defense announced this week the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cpl. Juan P. Navarro, 23, of Austin, Texas, died July 7, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when he was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device. Navarro was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Navarro graduated from Austin's Lanier High School in 2007 and became the first of 11 brothers and sisters to attend college. Soon after, he became the first in his family to enter the military, joining the Army in 2008 and going to Fort Benning, Ga. for Initial Army Training and Advanced Individual Training.
"He wasn't afraid," said his brother-in-law Eleazar Dominguez. "He was courageous. He wasn't afraid of gunshots. He wasn't afraid of anything."
"He was the type of person that even if he didn't know you he would give you a big smile and a hug," said his older brother, Miguel Pantoja. "I'm proud of everything he did. I'm proud of him because he did what he wanted to do."
Navarro had planned on leaving the Army within a few months and resuming his studies at Texas State University. According to his family, he had taken a break from college because he didn't want to burden his family with paying for his education and he knew the Army would pay for him to go to school.
"The world feels empty. Like the world is gone. That's how it feels," said Navarro's younger sister Carmen Navarro.