Marine Corps Cpl. Nicolas
Parada-Rodriguez, 29, of Stafford, died Sunday in Afghanistan, the
Defense Department said.
He had been in the Navy
and was deployed to Afghanistan during his service, said his
sister Norma. After his discharge, he held a civilian job for a
time and then signed up again, this time in the Marines.
When he was sent to
Afghanistan in December, she said, it was his second Afghanistan
tour with the Marines.
"He said he just
liked defending his country," she said Tuesday. "He
wanted to do something that people would remember him for."
The Pentagon said Parada-Rodriguez
died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.
After coming to this
country from El Salvador in 1991, according to his sister, Parada-Rodriguez
and his parents and siblings settled in Springfield.
He went to Robert E. Lee
High School, where, she said, he enjoyed being with his friends,
"being their leader . . . defending people . . . always
looking out for people."
In addition to Norma,
survivors include another sister, Maria, a brother, Lisandro, and
their mother, Luisa.
His sister said Parada-Rodriguez
had no children but loved to be with his nieces and nephews,
sometimes telling them war stories, and often telling them to do
He was assigned to the
1st Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine
Division of the II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp
Lejeune, N.C., the Pentagon said.
It was a long drive
between Camp Lejeune and Stafford, but Parada-Rodriguez made it
often, Norma said.
When at Lejeune, she
said, he "couldn't wait for weekends" to come to
Virginia to be with family.
sad," she said. "We are devastated. We knew that this
could happen." But she said, he was due to return in late
June or early July, and "we always had that hope" that