Southern Illinois highway named for fallen Green Beret

HIGHLAND, Ill. (AP) — A roadway through a rural stretch of southern Illinois has been named for a 33-year-old Green Beret killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008.

On Saturday, friends and community members gathered at an American Legion post in Highland to dedicate the stretch of highway that was the final leg of the journey to bring the soldier’s body back home.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Gary Vasquez was killed in Yakhchal, Afghanistan, along with two other soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Highland native was on his third tour in Afghanistan.

The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports that stretch of Illinois 160 between Trenton and Highland is now known as the Sgt. Gary J. Vasquez Green Beret Memorial Highway.