Tucson soldier dead in Afghanistan

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An 18-year-old U.S. Army private from Tucson died in Afghanistan Saturday after the vehicle he was riding in encountered an improvised explosive device.

The Pentagon issued a statement announcing the death of Pvt. Joseph F. Gonzales.

He died along with Staff Sergeant Nathan Cox of Walcott, Iowa.

Both were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

The incident happened in the Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan.

Friends in Tucson say Gonzales attended Sunnyside High School, but dropped out after the 10th grade and enlisted in the Army in 2007.

Gonzales has family both in Tucson and in Hermasillo, Mexico.

The family says it is planning a memorial service at St. John's Catholic Church, 602 West Ajo Way, with burial in South Lawn Cemetary. It plans to announce details in a few days.

Private Gonzales' remains are expected to arrive in Tucson by Thursday.