He wore the Air Force blue and the Army green, and the camouflage in between.
Army Sgt. Ken Hermogino died in uniform in Afghanistan doing what he loved: serving his country.
His military career began in the Air Force two months after he was angered by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by followers of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
And he died with satisfaction in his heart, his family said, knowing in the last week of his life that the U.S. military had found and killed bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan and hopefully made the world a safer place for his 5-year-old son, his wife from Las Vegas, and his parents, sister and brother.
"I'm glad he heard about it because it was a big accomplishment for the military. That's one of the reasons why he was in Afghanistan," said his mother, Norma Hermogino. "They were celebrating when they found out bin Laden was dead. He felt good about it."
Norma Hermogino and her family gathered Monday around the dining room table in her Henderson home to remember Ken.
The 30-year-old soldier was killed May 9 when the mine-resistant, all-terrain vehicle he was riding in as a gunner rolled over in the mountainous Herat province of northwestern Afghanistan.
"They were escorting Afghan engineers back to the base. The side of the vehicle fell and Ken was pinned in the gun turret," said his sister, Sheena Hermogino, 28, a Clark County employee.
"He was very passionate about his job as a cavalry scout."
Ken Hermogino was an eight-year Air Force veteran who had served as a medical administrator at bases in the Western United States and in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where he saw the horrors of war in citizens, soldiers and airmen wounded by roadside bombs and suicide bombers.
He joined the Army in 2009 while at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., because "he wanted to be more involved," said his brother, Marvinjeff Hermogino, 34, a first-grade teacher at Cortez Elementary School, who communicated with him by email. "He told me how much he misses his family but felt he was in a perfect spot for doing what he loved."
His father, Renato Hermogino, a retired senior chief petty officer who joined the U.S. Navy in the Philippines and served 26 years on ships and boats around the world, said his son had signed up for the military because "he wanted to follow my footsteps."
He recalled the conversation his son had with his mother when he switched from the Air Force to the Army.
"She told him you might be killed in Afghanistan. And Ken said, 'Mom, it's OK to die. At least I'd die doing what I love to do.' "
Sheena Hermogino added that he once said he "would rather have a short life doing what he loved rather than a long, boring life doing things he hated."
Ken-Donovan King Hermogino was born July 21, 1980, at Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
His dad was transferred to Hawaii, and the family returned years later to San Diego, where Hermogino attended school from kindergarten until freshman year in high school. The family then moved to Henderson, where he graduated from Basic High School in 1998.
While growing up, Hermogino enjoyed skateboarding, BMX racing and tinkering with souped-up cars. He played the clarinet as a youngster but switched to drums.
His passion at Basic High was participating in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program, where he learned skills and discipline that later helped him become a member of the Air Force Honor Guard.
In school he was fond of mechanical drawing and had a knack for fixing things, from computers to televisions.
He attended the Community College of Southern Nevada in Henderson for two years before joining the Air Force.
As a buff, square-jawed soldier he was a military extra in the movies "Transformers" and "Iron Man."
"He was a good son, very respectful and a good brother. He was very close to his family," his mother said. "He liked adventure. He liked the outdoors.
"He was so very, very proud of the Army and the Air Force."
At age 19, he met a 17-year-old high school senior in Las Vegas, Monica Nimtien, who later became his wife and mother of their 5-year-old son, Kevin Hermogino.
They were unavailable Tuesday at their home in Colorado Springs, Colo., near Fort Carson. That's where Hermogino was stationed when he deployed in July for a yearlong Operation Enduring Freedom tour of Afghanistan assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
His military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
He was the 74th U.S. military member with ties to Nevada to die in the nation's wars overseas since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Plans for a service and burial at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City are pending.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to a trust fund for his son, Kevin Vincent Hermogino, at Chase Bank, 1311 S. Boulder Highway Suite 120, Henderson, NV 89015, Account No. 2997521303.
Contact reporter Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308.