Michael Konopasek, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City family is grieving the loss of one of Oklahoma's finest.
Spc. Francisco Briseno-Alvarez Jr. was killed Sunday in Laghman province, Afghanistan. The death marks the 13th Oklahoman soldier to die since late July. Twelve of whom served in the National Guard 45th Infantry division.
The U.S. Department of Defense says Briseno-Alvarez died when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. That news is leaving those in his Southwest Side neighborhood with heavy hearts as Oklahoma is hit by yet another army casualty.
An anthem proclaiming the pride of a country Briseno-Alvarez was fighting so hard to defend was sung at an event saluting troops in Del City. The event came one day after family members of Briseno-Alvarez learned their loved one would not be returning home.
"His family was pretty shaken up about it," said friend Darrell Hall.
Nieghbor Brenda Fetzko says Briseno-Alvarez was a good man who had a strong connection to his family.
"I know, he loved his mother very much so," said Fetzko.
Neighbors say on Sunday his mother received a message she never wanted to hear. The loss, now marking more than a dozen in the past two months, has had a large impact on Oklahoman soldiers.
"That's just devastating to the community," said First Lt. Montana Dugger of the Oklahoma National Guard.
As the salute in Del City wrapped up, Briseno-Alvarez's family was faced with having a funeral for a soldier who was taken too soon.
"He was a very good person," said Fetzko. "[He was] just getting his life going and then this happens."
Briseno-Alvarez was 27 years old. Friends say he was in Afghanistan for just a month before his death. He was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom at the time of his death.