A 20-year-old soldier from Turlock died in Iraq on Wednesday in a noncombat-related incident, according to a Department of Defense news release.
The release identified the soldier as Spc. Avadon A. Chaves. The incident is under investigation, and his family declined to comment upon the circumstances of his death. Chaves was a specialist in the infantry.
His family said he was a 2015 graduate of PItman High School, had recently married a woman he met while stationed in Texas, and planned on making the Army a career.
"He wanted to serve his country and help his mom financially," said sister Amaris Marquez. "He thought the military was ... he really respected the military."
Sister Emerald Chaves said her brother decided to join when recruiters visited his junior high school. She said before he left for the Army his bedroom had posters of the military and a huge U.S. flag.
Avadon Chaves was the youngest of five siblings and the only son and was raised by a single mother. He was born in Modesto and spent his early years here before his family moved to Turlock, where he attended elementary school, junior high and high school. His family moved back to Modesto about a year ago.
His family said he was funny and could be sarcastic but was kind and loving and a devoted Christian. They said he doted upon sister Vivian Marquez's six children and wanted to have his own family. He and his wife, Tesa, were married in June.
Chaves died at Al Asad, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, according to the news release. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas.
His family said he will be buried in Modesto and services are pending. His family said Chaves' other survivors include his mother, Marcella Chaves, sister Scarlett Chaves and his father, Jon Scott Sr.