Matthew T. Abbate, 26
It's surreal. No one believed it. ... It's something that happens to other people's families. But I think he'd be glad he died instead of someone else. That's why he did what he did, so someone else didn't have to.
— Valerie Binion, 17, half-sister in Fresno Bee
Abbate was killed in combat Dec. 2 while fighting in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province, according to military officials. Although his hometown was listed by the military as Honolulu, Abbate grew up in the Fresno area, where many members of his family still live. He attended Buchanan High for three years before graduating from Sierra Charter School in the Fresno Unified School District, according to the Fresno Bee. His death marks the eighth time a former Buchanan High student has been killed in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the most of any school in the state, according to data kept by The Times' California's War Dead database.