US Navy Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez "Superman" KIA October 8, 2010
"He was hit by cars twice and came out without a scratch,'' said Victor Medina, another friend.
On Friday October 8th, Gonzalez, 22, a newlywed, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded during combat operations in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense reported Sunday.
Gonzalez's body was to be flown back to Miami-Dade for burial late Sunday night, October 10th.
News spread quickly among his tight-knit group of friends, many of whom had served with him as student leaders in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at Dr. Michael J. Krop Senior High School in North Miami-Dade.
He graduated from high school in 2007. "We were in the ROTC and we socialized outside it,'' said Herrera. "We called ourselves The Gang . . . Probably 10 of us are in the military now. This is the first time anything has happened to us.''
Gonzalez's friend Herrera is scheduled to report for Navy basic training later this month.
Gonzalez, also known as Gonzo, was serving as a hospital corpsman in the 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"He was a medic; he talked about becoming a doctor,'' said Marina Leventhal, another high school classmate. "He wanted to be a medic because he always wanted to help people.''
Shortly before going to Afghanistan two or three months ago, Gonzalez married his girlfriend, Neshme Bazan, whom he had met in the military, friends said. She is stationed in Germany, they said.
Funeral services have not been announced. Several of his friends plan a dinner to commemorate him this week at a local bar and grill.
"And every sixth of the month we're going to go to his backyard and drink beer, light a candle and just talk about him,'' said Leventhal.
Gonzalez was born on the sixth of February, she said, and his friends want to commemorate his birth, not his death. He liked to throw parties in his back yard whenever he was back in town, she said.
"He was just a really great guy -- always happy, having fun,'' said Leventhal. ``We all really miss him.''
On Sunday (October 10, 2010) friends left heartfelt messages on Gonzalez's Facebook page. A YouTube memorial was quickly put together for the fallen sailor.
Friends posted and shared their own photos of Gonzalez. Among them was Victor Olmo. "A friend like Edwin deserves it,'' Olmo said.
As the wife and daughter of two retired Navy men I feel honored to have known him even through this memoriam for him. Our home base of Camp Lejeune will shine a little less bright with him go