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Nick Paradarodriguez


He was an immigrant, the son of immigrants, who came to the United States 19 years ago, graduated from high school in Fairfax County, and, his sister said, wanted to defend his country.

Marine Corps Corporal Nicolas Parada-Rodriguez, 29, of Stafford, died Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.

He had been in the Navy and was deployed to Afghanistan during his service, said his sister Norma. After his discharge, he held a civilian job for a time and then signed up again, this time in the Marines. When he was sent to Afghanistan in December, she said, it was his second Afghanistan tour with the Marines.

“He said he just liked defending his country,” she said Tuesday. “He wanted to do something that people would remember him for.”

The Pentagon said Parada-Rodriguez died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province.

After coming to this country from El Salvador in 1991, according to his sister, Parada-Rodriguez and his parents and siblings settled in Springfield. He went to Robert E. Lee High School, where, she said, he enjoyed being with his friends, “being their leader . . . defending people . . . always looking out for people.”

His sister said Parada-Rodriguez had no children but loved to be with his nieces and nephews, sometimes telling them war stories, and often telling them to do good things.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division of the II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Pentagon said.

It was a long drive between Camp Lejeune and Stafford, but Parada-Rodriguez made it often, Norma said. When at Lejeune, she said, he “couldn’t wait for weekends” to come to Virginia to be with family.

“It’s very sad,” she said. “We are devastated. We knew that this could happen.” But she said, he was due to return in late June or early July, and “we always had that hope” that he would.

Parada-Rodriguez also is survived by his mother, Luisa; and a brother, Lisandro, and a sister, Maria.

Nicholas’ portrait is also on Poster 8

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