Central Florida Soldier Who Died in Afghanistan Brought Home

Soldier Death
Posted at 3:24 PM, Jun 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-04 15:24:00-04

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - The body of a central Florida soldier who died in Afghanistan has been returned home for burial.   

The U.S. Department of Defense reported that Sgt. 1st Class Pablo "Ponch" A. Ruiz died May 24 in Bagram, Afghanistan, in a noncombat-related incident. His remains arrived in Melbourne Thursday.   

Members of the Melbourne Police Department, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, the American Legion and the Avet Project escorted the body from Melbourne International Airport to Fountainhead Memorial Park in Palm Bay, and then to Gleason Auditorium on the campus of Florida Tech. That's where a public viewing was planned from noon to 2 p.m., followed by a full military service.  

Florida Today ( reports there will be a life celebration service on Saturday at the NCO Pavilion across from Patrick Air Force Base.