PUBLISHED: 00:48 EST, 3 July 2012 | UPDATED: 01:03 EST, 3 July 2012
Hundreds of family members, friends and other mourners have filed a suburban Detroit church for the funeral of a 23-year-old Marine who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Lance Cpl. Steven Stevens II of Detroit died on Friday June 22 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. He was part of an engineering battalion out of Camp Pendleton, California.
The young soldier had recently become a father when he was killed
He never met his son Kairo, born eight days after he was deployed.
Tragic: U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Stevens II was killed in Afghanistan in June, leaving behind his wife Monique and their three-month-old son Kairo
Stevens’ wife, Monique, would send email updates and photos of their baby almost every day.
Via telephone and Skype he heard his son laughing and cooing and watched as he responded to his dad say his name.
The three-month-old would reach toward the computer camera, trying to get at his dad.
‘That was like, the best feeling of his life,’ Monique Stevens told the Detroit Free Press.
Stevens told her: ‘Oh, he knows me. He understands me. He knows my voice.’
But that was the closest the Marine ever got to meeting the child.
Last month a rocket-propelled grenade brought on his untimely death, denying him the opportunity to even touch his son.
Heartbreaking: Baby Kairo and his dad never even met
In their final conversation, the day before his death, Stevens and his wife told each other ‘I love you’ and spoke of buying a home together in California.
‘He told me he had to get off because he was getting ready to go on patrol,’ Mrs Stevens told the paper.
‘I wish I would have had the chance to tell him how great of a husband that he was, that I knew he was going to be a great dad.’
Stevens’ funeral was held at the Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield on Monday, with the burial taking place at Mount Hope Memorial Gardens in Livonia.
The program for the funeral at contained a request from Mrs Stevens that her husband watch over and guide their son from heaven.