VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A Virginia Beach soldier died on Sunday from injuries that he sustained in April in a non-combat related incident at Dahuk, Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Pfc. Alvaro R. Regalado, 37, died at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Regalado was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. His unit deployed to Southwest Asia in November 2009.
Family members say Regalado was not like the rest of his fellow soldiers at boot camp.
"It was his goal to give back to this country that was doing so much for him," said mother-in-law Jackie Dayton. "He saw it as way to take care of his family."
He was not yet an American citizen when he enlisted in the Army at the age of 36.
"I never thought he would get into the Army at such a late age," Dayton said. "I never did, but his intellect spoke volumes for him."
He moved to Virginia Beach from native country Peru. There he spent time in the Peruvian Navy, and he met his wife.
"Alvaro was the love of her life," Dayton said. "Alvaro was that love that you only get once. He took her breath away when he walked in the room. I don't know how you get over it."
Regalado was stationed in Fort Bliss and made is first deployment to Iraq. It would be his last.
"It just wasn't meant to be," Dayton said.
In April, the soldier was working in a mess hall when there was a fire in which he was severely burned. He was flown back to Texas, but last over the weekend he died from his injuries.
"This is devastating," Dayton said. "My daughter is crushed. She doesn't know what to do."
Before his death, Regalado fulfilled his dream of becoming an American citizen.
"He will never be replaced," Dayton added. "He will never be forgotten. He will be forever one of my sons. He is a son that I am incredibly proud of."
Regalado is survived by a wife, daughter and three step-sons. A statement from Fort Bliss said funeral arrangements were pending.
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