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Far Rockaway soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Queens has lost another of its military servicemen in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan this week, the Department of Defense said.

Spc. Roberto Hernandez of Far Rockaway was killed Tuesday in the town of Paktya when his mounted patrol was attacked with an IED and small arms fire, according to the DOD. The 21−year−old had been deployed overseas for nearly 14 months and was set to return home in July, according to his mother Paulina Richards.

“He was interested in joining the military and he liked the idea of serving the country,” she said. “ He had no regrets.”

Hernandez was a third−generation solider. His grandfather, Alfonso Tomlinson, was in the Army during the Korean War and moved from Panama to the US after his service.

Richards worked as an audio mechanic in the Air Force, while her two brothers Ricardo and Alejandro Tomlinson served in the Army. Richards’s sister Virginia Tomlinson did not serve in the military.

Hernandez graduated from August Martin High School in Jamaica in 2006 and attended Tuskegee University in Alabama for a year. In 2007, he enlisted in the Army and he deployed to Afghanistan in April 2008.

Richards said her son was loved helping people and that was what drove him to join the armed services. Although she, her relatives and his friends had reservations on his going into combat, the single mother said she let him be his own man and follow his own path.

“I always supported him in whatever he wanted to do,” she said.

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