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Ft. Bliss Soldier's Fiancée Grieves After He Is Killed In Afghanistan

By Brenda De Anda-Swann
Published On: Dec 14 2011 11:57:20 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 15 2011 12:17:34 PM CST
EL PASO, Texas -

The date was set: Aug. 9, 2012.

They posed with their wedding rings, their hands holding Scrabble tiles spelling the word "forever." And Steven Curtis Chapman's song "We Will Dance" was the thread that tied the memories on the video Katie Madden made for her soldier in Afghanistan.

She sent it to him not too long ago. She doesn't know if he ever got to see it.

Pvt. Jalfred D. Vaquerano of Apopka, Fla., died Tuesday in a Landstuhl, Germany, hospital. The Pentagon said he was wounded during a firefight in Logar province of eastern Afghanistan.

"I cannot figure out why this happened to him. He was planning on getting baptized when he came back. We were just about to start our lives," wrote Madden on her Facebook page. She was with him at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

"My room is filled with packed boxes I had waiting to be moved into our home, my beautiful wedding dress I was going to wear for him and pictures and things he made for me... I'm so lost without my best friend," she wrote.

Vaquerano, 20, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas. The same unit lost three other soldiers earlier this month -- Sgt. First Class Clark Corley Jr., Spc. Ryan Lumley and Spc. Thomas Mayberry. They were the first soldiers from Fort Bliss to die in Afghanistan, a post spokeswoman told ABC-7.

The post held a memorial ceremony Wednesday morning in honor of the three.

"We know that when you are off to war that there is a chance that you will give your life," said First Lt. Richard Hartenberg, a Fort Bliss chaplain. "Here at Fort Bliss, we are reminded once again that freedom is not free.''

Madden, a nurse tech at a Florida hospital, knows that all too well.

"The last words I said to him were 'I can't wait to be your wife.' And his were 'Me either, I love you,'" she shared on Facebook.

Then Madden pleaded, "Please, cherish the ones that you have because it can all change in the blink of an eye. I'll never be the same after losing this man,"

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