A Boston man who joined the Army to help pay for college for his sister and himself was among three soldiers killed in an explosion in Iraq on Saturday, less than three weeks before his birthday and two months before he was going to complete his military service, relatives said.
Sergeant Daniel J. Londono, 22, was in a military vehicle in Baghdad with Staff Sergeant Clint D. Ferrin, 31, of Picayune, Miss., and Private First Class Joel K. Brattain, 21, of Santa Anna, Calif., when an improvised explosive device struck it, the Department of Defense said yesterday.
All three soldiers were assigned to the First Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C. Ferrin grew up in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Mississippi for his senior year of high school before joining the Army.
Londono joined the Army after graduating from Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree in 2000. His aunt Mirka Kozikowski said yesterday that Londono had always expressed an interest in the Army as a child, but he joined primarily to help his mother and sister financially.
"He wanted to protect the country but also to make a better life for himself," Kozikowski said. "The only way he could go to college is to go to the Army."
Londono's 18-year-old sister, Diana, of Dorchester, said her brother was protective, but she recalled with some sadness how committed he was to helping her.
"When he came back home once he told me that he went to the Army for me so that my mom could pay for college for me," she said.
She also said her brother ran track in school and listened to all types of music.
The family last saw Londono during the Christmas holiday; and his mother had spoken to him a week ago, Kozikowski said.
The attack is under investigation.