When Roberto Abad learned he would be deployed to Iraq for a second time, he decided it was time to father a child.
"He wanted to have a child in case he never came back," said his father, Roberto Abad. "We''re going to be able to have a memory of him now."
Abad, 22, of Bell Gardens, Calif., died in combat Aug. 6 in Iraq''s Najaf province. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Although proud of his service, Abad also looked ahead to life after the military and planned to become a firefighter, attend college and marry his girlfriend, his family said.
The oldest of seven children, he joined the Marines just after high school and participated in the U.S. invasion of Iraq last year. He was deployed again earlier this year.
"I looked up to him my whole life," said Abad''s brother Diego, who joined the Marines in February. "He would tell me to never give up on anything you believe in."
Abad is survived by his girlfriend, Tania Valazquez, who was expecting their child.