The Cost of War

A soldier’s homecoming was not what a local family was hoping for.

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NBC 5 News/Wise County Sheriff Dept.
Ocean City Police Department
The body of U.S. Army Specialist Rafael Martinez, Jr. returned from war Saturday.
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His family last saw him three months ago before he headed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty.
Greg Bledsoe
His sister, Yvonne Martinez, says dealing with the loss is hard. "We're trying to hang in there. We're trying to be strong," she said. "I still don't 100 percent believe that he's not here. I guess I keep hoping that it's a mistake."
John Audley
She says even though her brother was at war, she never thought he would be brought home in a coffin.
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"I thought he was indestructible," she said. "Why wouldn't he come back from this. He had already come back from Iraq."
She says if she could tell her brother one last thing, it would be how much she loved him.
Greg Bledsoe
“How much I won't ever forget him," she said. "All our memories. How much I loved him. He knew how much I loved him."
Greg Bledsoe
Her brother was supposed to home in November. Their family is now rallying around the children he left behind.
"We're just going to work hard to raise them to be what I know my brother would have wanted them to be," she said.
NBC 5 News
Last week, Rafael Martinez, Sr. watched two soldiers walk up to his front door. "I know already my son is dead," he said.
NBC San Diego
Pentagon officials say Specialist Martinez was killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in northwestern Afghanistan. Two fellow soldiers were also killed in the blast.
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In 2007, Specialist Rafael Martinez, Jr. got married and had his daughter, Davina, before serving his first tour in Iraq.
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Ten months ago, Specialist Martinez and his wife Christina, added to their family with a young son named Rafael III.
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During his tour, he was injured by a bomb blast and awarded a purple heart.
Greg Bledsoe
Rafael Martinez, Sr. never wanted his son to join the military. "Before when my son was 18, I didn't give him permission to serve this country," Martinez, Sr. said at his Spring Valley home.
John Audley
Martinez says he didn't want to lose his only son to war. But when he turned 33, Rafael Martinez, Jr. finally went against his father's wishes and joined the U.S. Army.
Greg Bledsoe
"He loved this country so much and he was so proud to serve the United States of America," Martinez, Sr. said about his son, who lived next door to the family home.
Greg Bledsoe
It is what Martinez. Sr. feared most and why he didn't want his son to join the military.
John Audley
Despite the tremendous loss, he is proud of his son.
NBC San Diego
"I feel great because my son did something he wants, to defend the country," Martinez, Sr. said.
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