The father of a southwestern Illinois native killed with six other Marines in an explosion during a Nevada training exercise says his son was just two months from completing his military commitment and eager to come home and return to college.
Reports indicate 26-year-old Aaron Rripperda, formerly of Highland, died Monday night at the Hawthorne Army Depot.
Kent Ripperda of Marine says his son quietly questioned during a telephone chat between the two the value of such training when his time in the Marines was drawing to a close.
Kent Ripperda says that after graduating from high school in 2005, his son did some college work in Chicago and graduated from a St. Louis culinary school. He believed joining the Marines was his calling and a way to see the world.