Elise Rosa looked forward to the day her husband, Pfc. Angel Rosa, would emerge from a bus full of Marines returning home from Iraq sometime this summer.
The young couple, married last May, had talked of starting a family when he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
Now, those plans will never be.
Angel Rosa died Tuesday from injuries suffered while conducting combat operations in Iraq's Anbar Province. He was 21 years old. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Lejeune.
Rosa, who grew up in South Portland, Maine, was known for his supportive and caring nature by his friends and family, his wife said Thursday. On the soccer team at South Portland High School, from which he graduated in 2004, he was team captain and received a Most Valuable Player award. When hanging out with friends, he was the one who would take a dare first, making sure it was safe for others to try.
"It was not that he wanted to prove anything," Elise Rosa said. "He wanted to make sure everybody was OK."
He joined the Marine Corps on Feb. 1, 2006. Elise Rosa said she was worried because of the dangers that were present overseas, but she said Angel Rosa thought a stint in the military would help him make a difference. When he wanted to do something, she said, you couldn't stop him.
"He always liked to challenge himself," Elise Rosa said. "This was like the ultimate challenge for him."
He was trained as an infantry rifleman, joining the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, in July 2006. He was promoted to private first class in August.
He was deployed to Iraq with members of his unit on Jan. 19.
Elise Rosa said she'd talked to her husband about two weeks ago before he went on the mission in the Al Anbar province, and had been looking forward to their next conversation. She was supposed to hear from him this Sunday.
Instead, she'll be completing plans for his funeral.
"Had I known this would happen the last time we talked," she said, "I would've said goodbye."