"He died for what he believed in, he died for us, all of us here," said Aparicio's mother, Connie.
Carlos Aparicio grew up in Fontana and his family says he always had a smile on his face.
He was a standout in wrestling and football in high school, but knew his purpose was to serve his country.
"He always achieved what he wanted to do, but when he told me he wanted to do this, as a mother, I would say 'No, no, no, no," Aparicio said. "He was always positive. As a parent, I was scared sometimes."
She said she has watched enough movies to know that when two soldiers showed up to her door, it couldn't be good.
"It was 6 o'clock in the morning, I looked through the door, what went through my mind was, I knew. I thought if I don't open the door it won't happen," but the she opened the door, she said.
Aparicio leaves behind a fianc?e and a family coming together in mourning.
Aparicio will receive the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
"The way we cope with it and believe in it, is he's a great soldier in God's Army and that's his purpose," his mother said.