I don't know where all my son's plans lie now. I didn't want a hero. I didn't want medals. I wanted a son.
— Marisela Montes, mother
Montes suffered fatal burns when he rescued two soldiers from a tank set ablaze in a bomb attack. He had escaped from the tank but went back inside to help his comrades. He died six days later in a U.S. hospital. Montes' family was there when they removed him from life support.
California's War Dead
is the Los Angeles Times' collection of stories about the 743 California servicemembers and 492 others based in California
who died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, San Diego
Landon L. Jones, 35, Lompoc
Jonathan S. Gibson, 32, Aurora, Ore.
Robert E. Thomas Jr., 24, Fontana
Kenneth Clifford Alvarez, 23, Santa Maria
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reporters and Web developers at The Times.