He married his childhood sweetheart, Jaime Scott and they moved to Virginia Beach to start a family.A petty officer 3rd class, he hoped to train for an officer’s commission upon his return from his first deployment.

“He wanted an education and this was certainly a way to get it,” said Donna Scott, his mother-in-law.

The day before he died, Owens e-mailed his wife about plans for a beach vacation when he returned in February. He told her he loved her, said to keep smiling, he’d be home soon.

“He loved his family, and he loved his country,” said his mother-in-law, who last spoke with him four days ago, before Jaime and their Daughter, Isabella came to visit her.

“My girls are coming to see you,” he said then. “Take care of them for me.”

Arlington National Cemetery

Tomorrow, EW3 Owens would have celebrated his 43rd birthday.