Updated at 7:05 p.m.
The Defense Department has announced the death of a Camp Lejeune-based Marine in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Javier O. Ortiz Rivera, 26, of Rochester, N.Y., died Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to the DoD.
He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Rivera joined the Marine Corps in July 2002 and was promoted to staff sergeant July 02, 2009, according to the 2nd Marine Division. He previously deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to March 2006. Most recently he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in September 2010.
His awards include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, according to the 2nd Marine Division.
Rivera was married and had three children, according to an Associated Press report.
Then today the kids were sent home from school with this letter:
It just saddens me that my children have to be read a letter like this. I was in tears when I read it, knowing that there is a child in the elementary school right down the street that has lost their Daddy because of the war in Afghanistan. I have so many friends whose husbands have either been in Afghanistan, are there now or heading that way. I did not know Staff Sgt Rivera but it could have easily been a husband of one of my friends. I know that it's all party of the military and war is jut part of the job, but it doesn't make the reality of losing a Daddy, Husband, Friend, Son, Brother any easier.
Please remember Staff Sgt. Rivera's family and all of our military in your prayers.