Rafael Martinez, Jr., 36
Martinez was one of three soldiers killed Oct. 14 while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. He grew up in a housing project in Stockton. After a troubled youth, Martinez turned to a military career in spite of vigorous objections from his parents and the difficulty of convincing recruiters that he would be a productive soldier despite his criminal history.
Sources: Times research, Defense Department, iCasualties.org