BOISE — Col. Tim Marsano of the Idaho National Guard said Wednesdays gathering for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Octavio Herrera was the largest hed seen at a transfer ceremony when a soldiers remains are returned to his family.
Octavios wife, parents, brothers and sister were joined at Gowen Field by a large throng of mourners.
The 26-year-old from Caldwell was killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan Aug. 11. Older brother Miguel said that dealing with Octavios death was a struggle for his family.
We lost a great man, a great husband, a great brother, a great son, Miguel said. Were trying to be strong.
Octavios casket was carried by an honor guard from a small plane to a waiting hearse during the transfer ceremony.
Members of the assembled group of family and friends cried out when the flag-draped coffin was revealed.
Miguel said standing on the tarmac looking at his brothers casket was an emotional moment.
It was very, very difficult for my mom and dad, Courtney his wife, and my brothers and sister, Miguel said. I cant even explain the feeling, its too hard a feeling to describe.
Octavio joined the Army in 2007, and was serving his third deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed in the Paktia Province by indirect fire.
But warfare never left Octavio bitter, Miguel said.
Tavi was a 12-year-old boy in a 26-year-old mans body, he said. He never shared the evil that he saw. He just came home and shared his love with us, his family.
A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of the Valley Roman Catholic Church in Caldwell. Octavio will be buried in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery in Boise.
Its going to be really hard living life without him, Miguel said.
Katie Terhune: 377-6219