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Island mourns soldier's death

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - As the island spent the weekend reflecting on those who have served our country to defend our freedom, a son of Guam paid the ultimate sacrifice while deployed overseas.  21-year-old Army Specialist Calvin Pereda was looking forward to a good home cooked meal and spending time with his family on R&R from deployment in Afghanistan.

"He spoke to his mom the night before he died that he was coming home Thanksgiving Day to Texas and he was looking forward to being with the other brothers," said Mae Paulino. But instead of celebrating this holiday, Pereda's family will lay him to rest as he was killed in Afghanistan.  Paulino, his aunt, says the family learned of her nephew's death on Sunday.

"My sister called us and informed us he got killed in Afghanistan," she remembered, adding, "they were not told the full details - it's just possible that they stepped on an IED, a mine."

Calvin is one of five boys. His family used to live in Yigo before they relocated to the mainland 11 years ago.  He graduated from Lawton high School in North Carolina in 2008 and followed in his family's footsteps and joined the military.  His uncle Jesus Evangelista and godmother, Norma, were shocked to hear the news. "He had told me that he was going to join the military and I gave him my blessing that if you are going to join go with your heart, but I didn't know t was going to be this way," said the former, with Norma adding, "I didn't believe he would join the military, I never did think he would but he wanted to follow because his Dad was in it and his mom and brothers, but I didn't think he would and I was shocked when they told me he joined the military."

Calvin was an infantryman stationed in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. His family says he was a strong willed but loving individual.  In fact, Calvin was injured two months in Afghanistan when he got shrapnel in his leg.  After a week in the hospital, he was back out in the field.

Said Paulino, "He's a very softhearted person he will do anything for anybody, just ask him and he will do it he would go out of his way to do things. A shy and wonderful person." Jesus added, "He's a good boy...it's just hard right now."

The Peredas, who live in Texas are in Dover, Delaware waiting for Calvin's body to arrive there before it is brought to Guam where he will be laid to rest. Rosaries are being said nightly at 7:30pm at the family's residence in Mataguak, Yigo.

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