Local Soldier Killed Delivering Books to Afghan School

Soldier was delivering books to a school when his convoy was hit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC News
    This is the arrival of all of the slain at Dover Air Force Base Monday, April 8, 2013.

    The Department of Defense released the names of the three soldiers who died over the weekend in Afghanistan - including a 24-year-old from Santa Clara who was delivering books to a school at the time.

    Spc. Delfin M. Santos Jr.  Saturday from wounds he suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit in Zabul, Afghanistan, according to the DOD.

    Santos was 24 years old.

    The DOD said Santos' convoy was hit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

    The soldiers were accompanying a group of American officials and their Afghan counterparts who were on their way to donate books to students  at a school in Qalat, the Zabul province's capital, according to a statement  released by the State Department.

    Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, 24, of Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25, of Juncos, Puerto Rico were also killed in the attack.

    It was the deadliest day in Afghanistan since Aug. 16.

    Santos joined the Army in February 2007 and arrived at the unit in May 2011. He was on his second deployment, according to the DOD.

    Santos' family said he was the youngest of 17 children. They said his father was a POW in World War II and was part of the Bataan Death March.

    His father was buried in the Philippines. Delfin Santos's family said his body will be flown to the Philippines as well so that he can be buried next to his father.

    He sent a :16 holiday greeting to his family in 2008. You can view that here.

    Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old American diplomat was also killed in the same attack. She part of the convoy delivering the books.

    "Anne was everything that was right about our country,” Secretary of State John Kerry said from Istanbul before adding that those responsible for the deaths were “cowards and terrorists."

    Kerry called Smedinghoff, who was a native of Chicago, “a selfless idealistic young women who woke up yesterday and set out to bring text books to children.”

    Below is a video clip discussing Smedinghoff's life that aired on MSNBC: 

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