The body of Staff Sgt. Roberto Loeza, who was recently killed in Afghanistan, returned home Wednesday afternoon in a somber ceremony for the Borderland hero.
Loeza, 28, died May 25 in Charkh, Logar province after his unit came under fire.
"We will always love him and cherish him and thank him for the sacrifice he made," Loeza's sister Karina Loeza-Gasca told ABC-7 on Sunday. "He died a hero and will be remembered as such."
Loeza's casket emerged from the airplane draped in the American flag as music played. His family huddled together, supporting one another through their pain.
Loeza leaves behind a wife and two young children. He was a graduate of Mountain View High School and was awarded several medals and badges during his ten year military career.
Fort Bliss's commanding general Dana Pittard said the loss is especially difficult for borderland residents. "This is the first First Armored Division soldier we've lost who is also from El Paso," he said. "Being from El Paso myself, I mean, it's just tearing us all up."
Pittard said Loeza came from a family of patriots. Loeza's sister Karina is in the Navy.
Fort Bliss officials said Loeza's funeral is set for Friday.