Richard Perez Jr., known as "Pookie" by his family, wanted to save up enough money to help his parents buy their first house when he returned from Iraq.
"He moved around a lot when he was a kid," said Lance Cpl. John R. Holiday. "His parents had always rented their whole life and he wanted to help them own a place."
Perez, 19, of Las Vegas, was killed Feb. 10 when a truck accidentally rolled over him near Ramadi. The reservist was based in Las Vegas.
Perez enlisted with the Marine Reserve shortly after he graduated from high school in 2003.
He had just 10 days left in Iraq and had already had shipped his personal belongings back home. He hoped to play baseball for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after he returned.
His father, a sports journalist, was debating whether to remain in the business of interviewing world-class athletes and attending baseball games and boxing matches. His son often accompanied him at such events.
"It just seemed like everything I've done over the years, everything I built up, I did for him," he said. "Now he's not here, and it's like, 'Do I still build it?'"