Military service held for former Navy veteran killed in Afghanistan

Posted: Updated:
BUDD LAKE -

Friends, family and fellow veterans held a military service for a former Navy veteran killed in Afghanistan while working for a private contractor.

Family members of 27-year-old Kevin Yali say that he always wanted to serve his country in the military. They say that they objected to him heading off to work in Afghanistan due to the dangers, but they say that they knew they could not stop him.

Yali, of Midland Park, served through four deployments with the U.S. Navy before moving on to work for private security contractors.

RELATED: New Jersey Navy serviceman dies in Afghanistan 

"We didn't want him to go over all four times because we knew about the dangers,” says Yali’s Uncle Fabian Rojas.

But Rojas says that he knew that his nephew’s mind was made up.

"He loved to serve. No one could've talked him out of it,” he says.

Yali had been working for the company Constellis, a private security firm founded by U.S. Army Special Forces veterans. Employees like Yali protect private companies, and according to Constellis’s website are, “experts in counterterrorism, special operations, training, weapons, explosives, security strategy and analysis."

He had been working on a job in Afghanistan for less than three weeks when he died, June 19.

"He was on foot standing in front of a housing complex,” says Rojas. "That's when the mortar hit I believe like a couple of feet in front of him.”

The military service was held at the All Veterans Memorial in Mount Olive. Yali’s family was led into the memorial site by police motorcade as friends, family and people from Mount Olive and his hometown welcomed them with flags.

Yali's remains have already been returned to the family.

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