Soldier's body returned to NW Indiana

October 17, 2011 2:20:56 PM PDT
The body of a fallen hero who died in Afghanistan was returned to his northwest Indiana home Monday morning.

Specialist Ricardo Cerros Jr. was killed last week.

Monday morning, the 24-year-old received a hero's salute as his body was returned to his native Gary, Indiana, where he will be laid to rest.

Cerros returns home after another soldier with ties to Northwest Indiana died in the war on terror. A procession of police and fire vehicles from throughout the region, along with dozens of Indiana Patriot Guard motorcycles, escorted the body from the Gary-Chicago International Airport to the funeral home for visitation.

He is the third soldier to be lost from the area in as many months.

Cerros died in a firefight on Oct. 8 while serving as a US Army Ranger in the Logar province in Afghanistan.

"I just miss him," said his step-mother, Deborah Cerros. "I know he sacrificed for his country, but it doesn't make our pain any less."

Cerros was born in Gary but moved to California to live with his father when he was 8 years old. Monday, he is being remembered as a generous and loving man, committed to his family and his country.

"We are just very proud of him," said Ricardo Cerros Sr. "He is just a really good kid. When he was a baby, growing up, everything about him--he was a good kid. He wanted to join the military, that's what he wanted to do, and we supported his decision."

Cerros' death follows that of Army Specialist James Butz, of Porter, who was killed on September 28, and also Army Specialist Augustus "Augy" Vicari, who died July 29.

Monday, his older brother, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Marco Cerros, remembered him as a man dedicated to his family and his country.

"He just wanted to take care and make sure everybody else was ok," his brother said. "Its just the way he was."

Funeral services for Ricardo Cerros Jr. are scheduled for Wednesday.

"I just want everyone to know he was a very good boy and please honor him for being such a hero that he was," said his mother, Marquerte Cuevas. "He was a very good boy."

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