For the second time in one week, the Chicago area is mourning the loss of yet another one of its soldiers.
A U.S. soldier from Aurora was one of two soldiers killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Deployed to the Kandahar region, 21-year-old Private First Class Miguel Villalon was killed in the IED explosion.
The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack.
Villalon had joined the Army in 2018 and this was his first combat deployment.
Villalon is a graduate of East Aurora High School, where he was an NJROTC cadet.
Friends described Villalon as a great friend and a peacemaker.
Rodrigo Hull, who attended school with Villalon, called his friend "the big brother type."
"He was younger than me and my other friends by only like a few months, but I definitely say he was the most mature," Hull said.
He said Villalon always made friendships a priority.
"He always made time for everybody, no matter where he was in the world," Hull said.
In a statement Sunday, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin called Villalon "a young soldier with dreams for the future and a desire to make a difference in the world today."
"Much like all of us who have left from our hometown of Aurora to serve our country, our goal is to do our job well and return to our family and friends," Irvin said. "Sadly, Miguel made the ultimate sacrifice as he protected our freedom from the front lines."
Flags in Aurora were lowered in his honor Sunday night.
Irvin said flags will fly at half-staff until the first sunrise after Villalon is laid to rest.
While Villalon's family continues to make arrangements for his body's return home, another suburban family is about to escort their son's remains home.
A Hazel Crest native, 23-year-old Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr. was killed a week ago Sunday in Kenya when militants attacked a military base there.
His remains are expected to arrive back here Tuesday. The village already planning a homecoming in his honor.
Tuesday is being declared Henry "Mitch" Mayfield Jr. Day in Hazel Crest.
Volunteers are being asked to meet at the village hall at 11 a.m. to receive yellow ribbons and instructions as to where they will be tied in an effort to appropriately honor his sacrifice and his family as they prepare to lay him to rest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.