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Aug 28, 2013 9:37 PM by Sean Mooney

Medal of Honor also honors memory of Tucson soldier

TUCSON - A soldier with Tucson ties who lost his life in an Afghanistan gun battle was awarded a Medal of Honor.

On Monday President Obama presented the award to Staff Sgt. Ty Carter at the White House for his acts of heroism during the battle of Combat Post Keating in Afghanistan.

The honor especially hit home to the family and friends of Army Sgt. Justin Gallegos, who was killed in action during that same battle.

On October 3, 2009, Gallegos and 53 other American soldiers were surrounded and attacked by 300 Taliban fighters. Before it was over half of the American troops were dead or wounded.

Command Sgt. Major, Ret., Don Becker served with Justin Gallegos during one of his two tours in Iraq,"He was 100% soldier, he was focused, he was dedicated, he was one of the most courageous soldiers I have ever served with, if not the most courageous."

Gallegos earned two Purple Hearts in Iraq and another Purple Heart and the Bronze Star in the battle that took his life. But Aqua Star International Owner, Glenn Hoffman, who Justin Gallegos worked for, say he remembers Justin for being more than just a Brave Soldier, "he had a lot of pride in what he did, he was very trustworthy, dependable, I'd give him a job and showed him once and he did it."

Justin's mother Josefina "Yolanda" Heideman also worked for Hoffman. Justin was the 3rd son gone too soon. "Yolanda", had cancer died shortly after Justin's funeral, Hoffman says his death was all she could take, "To find out her last son was killed in Afghanistan was probably a real blow that took her the rest of the way."

Glenn Hoffman is putting together a memorial in honor of Justin and his mother that will soon be prominently displayed in front of his business on 2nd Avenue on Tucson's southside.

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