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USF student killed in Iraq

National Guardsman and USF student Cpl. John Travis Rivero from Tampa was killed while serving in the war in Iraq.

On April 17, Rivero was patrolling in western Iraq to secure a local hospital when the Humvee utility vehicle he was in overturned. Rivero was 23.

Rivero, an infantryman assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment based out of Orlando, was pronounced dead at the scene by Florida National Guard officials according to The Tampa Tribune. The cause for the accident is still under investigation.

In December, Rivero received orders to go to Kuwait and then later to Iraq. Before he left for service, Rivero was working on his major in business at USF. Rivero also spent a semester on USF’s cheerleading squad.

“He was always optimistic, energetic and just a good guy,” said Ryan Ackner, Rivero’s roommate.

Lindsay Lattimore, a close friend of Rivero’s, said he joined the National Guard to help offset his academic expenses. Lattimore stated in a letter about Rivero, that she knew Rivero’s service in Iraq was a monumental part of his life.

“Travis was an ambitious young man and had only begun to see and make his mark in the world,” Lattimore said.

Friends of Rivero will hold a memorial service Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Business Administration lawn to remember him and the men and women still serving in Iraq.

The service is open to the public, said Kathleen Peters, a friend and organizer of the service.

Lattimore said there will be a candlelight service and poster boards to sign with pictures of Rivero to give to his family. Also, members of the National Guard and USF cheerleading squad are expected to attend to pay tribute to Rivero.

Rivero was the son of Patricia A. Gardham of Cambridge Ontario, Canada. He grew up in Gainesville and was living in New Tampa before he was called to duty. He is also survived by his sister, Terese Strickland.