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Friends, Family Remember Fallen Peninsula Soldier

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Specialist Derek T. Simonetta (U.S. Department of Defense)

Specialist Derek T. Simonetta (U.S. Department of Defense)

AnnaDuckworth20100909_KCBS_0483r Anna Duckworth
Anna started her broadcasting career at KCBS in 1994, a few mont...
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SAN MATEO (KCBS) — At least 500 people packed into San Mateo’s St. Gregory’s Church for Army Specialist Derek Simonetta’s funeral Mass on Tuesday where family and friends honored the fallen soldier from Redwood City.

Derek was among six soldiers fatally wounded the Sunday before last, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Simonetta’s last visit home was in October when he celebrated his 21st birthday.

His wife Kimberly said they talked about starting a family and planned on moving to Redding and getting a house where he was going to become a police officer.

“He was going to go to CSM in San Mateo for the police academy,” said Kimberly.

Kimberly said they never discussed the possibility of him not returning.

“We knew he was just going to come home,” she said.

The couple met when they both attended Carlmont High School in Belmont.

Childhood friend army specialist Cori Monti, who enlisted with Simonetta, spoke about his ultimate sacrifice.

“You do everything you can because of people like Derek, people who fight for freedom,” said his friend.

Simonetta’s casket received a police and fire escort through Belmont on Monday after arriving at Moffett Field via charter flight.

The attack on Simonetta’s unit brings the 2010 death toll for coalition forces in Afghanistan to 702.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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