Green Beret killed in Afghanistan recalled for his patriotism, love of life at funeral
By ELIZABETH ROMÁN | The Republican | Published: September 3, 2019
AGAWAM, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — Master Sgt. Luis DeLeon-Figueroa was recalled as a fun-loving, young man who brought joy to others at the funeral service Tuesday for the Chicopee Green Beret.
DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 21.
His young daughter, Angie DeLeon read a letter to her father, “Dear Papi, thank you for being a great hero and a great daddy. Thank you for defending our country and for always loving me.”
Opening prayers were offered by Pastor Stephen Thee and Chaplain Capt. Sam Strittmatter at the Bethany Assembly of God Church on Main Street in Agawam.
“Luis was a prankster,” Strittmatter recalled. “I was never a recipient of one of his pranks, but wherever he went, he brought life. It was an honor to know him and an honor to have been a part of his life.”
Recollections of DeLeon-Figueroa’s life were given by his daughter and friends, including Master Sgt. Henry Adames, Sgt. 1st Class William Pearson and Staff Sgt. James Miller.
The songs “Angel” by Sarah McLachaln and “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me were played inside the Agawam church before the benediction by Pastor Tim Reed and the procession to the nearby Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery for burial.
DeLeon-Figueroa left a fiancee, two daughters — 9 and 2 — and a stepdaughter, as well as a grandmother, a sister and foster family.
He and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif., died of wounds suffered in small-arms fire on Aug. 21 in Faryab Province, Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense. They were both Green Berets assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.