NAPLES, Fla. — The remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Austin Ruiz were returned to his family in Naples Friday night.
The 19-year-old was killed Jan. 13 in a live fire exercise at the 29 Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California. Another Marine was injured in the exercise.
Ruiz’s casket arrived at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and was taken to Shikany’s Funeral Home in Bonita Springs.
“He was very funny,” said Sandy Mena, Ruiz’s aunt. “He wanted everyone happy, he saw the positive in everything. He had no dark days; if you had a dark day, he would make it better.”
Patriot Guard riders accompanied Ruiz’s service, many of whom are also servicemen.
“It’s an honor to do this service and let them know were here for them,” said Patriot Guard Henry Hyde.
The late Marine won several medals and awards during his career, including the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
A memorial service will be held at Lovers Key State Park on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.