A Fort Carson soldier has died in a vehicle wreck in Afghanistan, the Pentagon reported Tuesday.
Sgt. Ken K. Hermogino of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., died Monday in Herat province, Afghanistan, from injuries he suffered in the crash, the Army said. He was assigned to the 7th Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, which is part of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"He was very sweet and… very talkative and fun and full of life," said Teresa Bruss, Hermogino's sister-in-law.
The 30-year-old cavalry scout joined the military two months after the 9/11 attacks. He has served in the Air Force, and had earned Air Force and Army achievement medals.
Hermogino had also earned the Army Commendation Medal.
He joined the Fort Carson cavalry squadron in June, just before the unit deployed to Afghanistan. He'd been in Afghanistan for 11 months and was due to come home in just a few weeks to be re-united with his wife and 5-year-old son.
He married his wife, Monica, shortly after they graduated from high school, Bruss said. They both joined the military, though Monica left when she had their son.
“They were high school sweethearts, so it’s definitely been very difficult,” said Bruss, who lives in Las Vegas, Nev. “She looks like a Barbie doll, so they used to call them Ken and Barbie.”
He often practiced martial arts with his 5-year-old son, Bruss said, and was known to go off-roading in his spare time.
Last winter, he recorded Christmas greetings to his wife and son in Colorado Springs.
"I love you both and I think about you every day," he said. "I can't wait to come home."
But while he yearned to see his family, Ken Hermogino “truly enjoyed” being in the military, Bruss said.
“He was very happy that he was on a great team and a great unit and serving his country,” Bruss said. “He was very proud about that.”
While the rest of the 3,800 soldier brigade is patrolling a region centered on Kandahar, the squadron is serving alongside Afghan and NATO troops in Heart, in Afghanistan's northwest corner.
The brigade's Kandahar contingent faced heavy fighting over the weekend as Taliban insurgents kicked off a spring offensive by trying to seize government buildings and detonating suicide bombs.
No Fort Carson soldiers were hurt in that battle, officials said.