Tacoma Marine killed in Afghanistan

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TACOMA, Washington —

A young U.S. Marine from Tacoma was killed Tuesday, just one month away from leaving the service and heading to college.

Lance Cpl. Ramon Kaipat, 22, was struck by an improvised explosive device while on patrol, his uncle, Alex Mettao, said.

“Next month, he was gonna come back and go to school and fulfill his dream,” Mettao said. “What happened now is heartbreaking for everybody…. We were not expecting this to happen.”

Kaipat was born in Saipan. His family came to Tacoma in 2004. He graduated from Mount Tahoma High School and knew he wanted to be a Marine.

“We’re still dealing with the shock, but we’re getting by,” said Kaipat’s cousin, Courtney Taisakan.

Taisakan said Kaipat loved playing football, listening to music and being with family.

Taisakan said the most important thing about Kaipat – the thing everyone should know – is “he died doing what he loved – serving his country – and that his family loved him.”

Kaipat’s parents and his brother and sister are at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be there when his body is returned to the United States.