By LENORE RUTHERFORD
Staff Sgt. David Scott Perry, who grew up in Sonora, died a hero in Iraq on Aug. 17.
Though his family members mourn him, they agree he would have wanted to die serving his country.
Two public services are scheduled.
The first will be at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home in Sonora at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, followed by a private inurnment.
A memorial service with full military honors will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13 at Camp San Luis Obispo, where Perry, 36, was based with the Army National Guard's 659th Military Police Force.
He was the first member of the California National Guard killed in the conflict with Iraq.
He was also a correctional officer at Wasco State Prison north of Bakersfield, and the first correctional employee from California to be killed in action in Iraq. Fellow correctional officers plan to participate in both services.
Perry's wife, Denae, said he is credited with saving about 30 other soldiers when he cleared a perimeter around a suspicious package before inspecting it in Ba'quban, Iraq, about 45 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The package exploded, killing him.
The Perrys have three children, Alyssa, 6, Brandon, 4, and Sean, 1,
"I will be OK for my children," Denae said during a short stay with her parents in Cedar Ridge this week. "I have to. I am a military wife now, whether I want to be or not."
She said she will return to the Bakersfield home she and her husband had built in 1995, and spend at least a year there before deciding whether to move on.
"There has been amazing support for us there," she said. "That's our home right now. My daughter is in ballet. She will start first grade soon, and her best friend lives next door."
Denae said people in Bakersfield have made signs supporting them, including one at her daughter's school that says "God Bless Staff Sgt. Perry."